AURORA, Colo. — No one likes getting bills in the mail, but when Viola Nathan got a bill last week, she couldn't believe what it was for.
"This is a demand notice for payment of $955.44," Nathan said. "I just freaked all the way out. I really did freak out."
Last summer, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order that was supposed to provide pandemic relief by deferring payroll taxes, but that didn't mean they were dismissed.
Many businesses opted out of the confusing program, but federal employees could not.
This year, their deferred taxes are coming due.
"We tried to alert that this was going to happen, but people didn't understand it right," said Everett Kelly, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which called Trump's plan a scam meant to undermine Social Security now hitting federal workers hard. "We said that it was a scam from the president to put federal and retired federal employees in harm's way."
Most employees will see the money taken out of their paychecks in 2021, but Nathan retired last December after 37 years as a federal employee in Colorado. She got a bill last week for the deferred payroll taxes that's due May 2.
"I was forced to take a loan that I did not apply for," Nathan said, "and I have to pay it off in a short period of time."
Nathan's daughter, Elena Brown, said they both want to warn other federal workers that if they leave a job before the deferred payroll taxes are repaid, they will receive a bill.
"I don't think my mom's the only person in this boat," said Brown, who is helping pay her mother's bill to avoid interest. "That's the least I could do. She's helped so much, so it's a no-brainer to help her out. But like I said, there's just other people I know for sure that maybe don't have that help."
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