A missing birth certificate and a lengthy delay create financial problems for Archdale couple

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Shirley Russell’s husband applied for his pension. He sent in all the paperwork but needed his wife’s birth certificate, the only problem they couldn’t find it.

ARCHDALE, N.C. — Shirley Russell and her husband had a problem. They were trying to collect his pension from work but needed to include her birth certificate in the paperwork.

“I thought it might be at father’s house, but it wasn’t,” Russell said.

The couple searched and searched but couldn’t find it anywhere, so they had to go through the process of getting a new one.

“I called (the state) and got an application,” Russell said.

She tells WFMY News 2 she sent the money and the application in, but the birth certificate never arrived. Russell said she sent a second and even a third application along with money each time, but the birth certificate didn’t come.

The process was now going on for about 7 to 8 months and still nothing. It did seem like the application at least made it to the right division, but Russell was still without a birth certificate.

“They gave me a pin number and a number to call, I called and called, it would say in progress, in progress,” Russell said.

The couple was running low on funds and eventually had to tap into their 401K to pay the bills.

“We had no money coming in,” Russell said. “I got behind on the electric bill and the phone bill.”

Russell said she continued to call the state, but it wasn’t making a difference. At this point Russell was frustrated knowing if the birth certificate had arrived, they could have sent the certificate in and started collecting about $900 a month on his pension.

“It’s not a good feeling (getting behind on bills), you worry if you’ll ever get caught up,” Russell said.

Not sure what else to do, Russell was given some advice from a friend, and it came with the phone number of our Call for Action Team.

“He said call (WFMY News 2) they can get something done, and I appreciate him telling me that,” Russell said.

After reaching out to us we contacted NC Vital Records and spoke with a representative. Russell said about a week or so later the application was processed.

“We called (WFMY News 2) and it wasn’t but a couple days later (they) had it sent,” Russell said.

The birth certificate arrived a few days later.

“When we had it in our hands I jumped up and down,” Russell said.

The certificate and the rest of the paperwork were then sent out a couple of days later. The pension claim was approved a short time later and the first check arrived the next month.

“Everything is good now, because of you, I appreciate it,” Russell said.