April 11, 2014

Don't start dreaming about what you'll spend your IRS refund on just yet; several taxpayers are saying that their refunds are being seized by the government to cover the old debts of relatives.

The Washington Post shares the story of Mary Grice, a Maryland resident who had both her state and federal refunds intercepted due to an alleged debt from dozens of years ago. Her father died in 1960, and Mary's mother and four siblings received survivor benefits from Social Security to help pay for everyday living expenses. Social Security now says that in 1977, it overpaid a member of the Grice family (they don't know who), and Mary was tapped to pay the price. "It was a shock," she said. "What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can't prove I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus."

How did this happen? In 2011, a sentence was added to the farm bill that lifted a 10-year statute of limitations on the government collecting old debts, and the hunt for money owed began in earnest. This summer, the Social Security Administration will go into overdrive, tracking down more than 400,000 taxpayers who, as a group, owe $714 million in debts more than a decade old.

Grice was finally able to get close to $1,500 of her refund back, after The Post inquired about her case. Although the Treasury said she owned $2,996, they initially held onto her combined refunds of $4,462. Read more about Grice and other people affected by this policy at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

6:50 p.m. ET

Super Bowl 50 started off with a bang, as Lady Gaga sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. In an earlier interview with the NFL Network, the pop star said performing at the Super Bowl was an "honor" and "a total dream come true." Catherine Garcia

6:37 p.m. ET
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Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are facing off against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, and those who don't have access to a television can still watch every minute of the game during the livestream on

2:19 p.m. ET

Larry David and Bernie Sanders appeared alongside each other on Saturday Night Live, but the real highlight of the night didn't involve Sanders at all. In this pre-taped sketch, watch David play a cranky, neurotic Sanders in the cleverly titled "Bern Your Enthusiasm." Julie Kliegman

1:48 p.m. ET
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The United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea on Sunday for defying international warnings in launching a long-range rocket that many believe is a cover for a test of a ballistic missile that could reach the United States mainland.

All 15 Security Council members approved a statement at an emergency meeting emphasizing that using ballistic missile technology violates four resolutions, The Associated Press reports. The group also vowed to adopt a new resolution soon with "significant" sanctions for North Korea. Julie Kliegman

1:18 p.m. ET
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In a Monmouth University poll released Sunday, Donald Trump leads the Republican field with 30 percent of the support from likely New Hampshire primary voters. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are tied for 13 percent, with Ted Cruz notching 12 percent.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton, 52 percent to 42 percent.

The poll's margin of error is 4.4 percentage points. On Tuesday, New Hampshire will be the second state to vote in the primaries. Julie Kliegman

12:28 p.m. ET
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Bernie Sanders distanced himself Sunday from "Berniebros," a wide-ranging term that some have used to describe sexist supporters of the Vermont senator.

"It's disgusting," he said on CNN's State of the Union. "We don't want that crap. Anybody who is supporting me and doing sexist things, we don't want them. I don't want them. That's not what this campaign is about."

See more of Sanders' interview here. Julie Kliegman

11:45 a.m. ET

Saturday night's Republican presidential debate featured a lot of heated conflict — once all of the candidates finally made it out on stage. Watch The Washington Post break down just how delightfully awkward the whole introduction process was. Julie Kliegman

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