DEAR HARRY: Many years ago, my husband had heart failure. He applied for Social Security disability, which took three years to get. I had to hire someone to look after him and our four children. We got his check and separate checks for each of our children. Their money was spent for parochial school and books.

About five years ago, Social Security sent us a letter saying that the payments to the children were incorrect and demanded a return of $12,000. We asked for a review of this, and the reviewer then sent us another letter now demanding an additional $8,000 with no explanation as to where it came from.

We paid back the money, but I can't see any reason for any overpayment. I cannot reach that reviewer or anyone else who is willing to explain this to me. Don't we have any recourse?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: This is very unlike the way things are normally checked out at Social Security. Try going to your local Social Security office with all your info. That visit will get you all the data on that refund and quite likely a resolution of the problem.

If that doesn't work, visit your congressman. This is an election year, and I feel certain you'll get the help you need.

Email Harry Gross at, or write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red-Cross.