Some still awaiting PFD check - Glitch delays payment for an estimated 3,000 (Alaska)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Monday, November 8, 1999 Some still awaiting PFD check Glitch delays payment for an estimated 3,000
By S.J. KOMARNITSKY Daily News reporter
Call it the pre-Y2K bug. A glitch in the computer system that handles Alaska Permanent Fund checks has left many people without this year's $1,769 payment.
State officials say they don't have exact figures, but they estimate 3,000 people may be affected.
Most of the estimated 575,000 residents who qualified for this year's annual payment got their checks just fine, said Nanci Jones, director of the state's Permanent Fund Dividend Division. But those who needed to have checks reissued, or were still having their applications reviewed as of mid-October, have fallen victim to a computer glitch.
The problem first showed up about three weeks ago, Jones said.
Officials noticed discrepancies in totals that should have been balancing, and a priority system for garnishing checks - to pay for traffic tickets, for example - was out of whack. Instead of paying off government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service first, the computer might give priority to small claims judgments, she said.
The glitch is described as a "math logic problem." Or, as Jones puts it: "It's possessed."
It started when the division tried to make the system more customer-friendly, she said. This year, for the first time, the division wanted everyone to be eligible to receive direct deposit, even those who didn't receive the full amount, such as those whose checks were garnished.
But something went wrong when programmers wrote the new instructions into the computer code. It didn't show up at first, but then it rippled through the data, she said. Chasing those ripples is part of what's made the error difficult to fix.
"We first start off and A is wrong, then D is wrong, then H is wrong," she said. "It was like, 'Ooh, ooh, ooh.' That's what we've been doing all week."
She's hoping that the oohs will end by next week and that most of the checks will be out by mid-November.
In the meantime, those watching their mailbox or checking account will have to wait a little longer and, in some cases, may have to persuade creditors they honestly haven't gotten their money yet.
"It's a case of 'do they believe me,' " said Lynn Jacobson, whose check has been on hold since it was sent to a closed bank account. "They're like, 'Everybody else got their money. Where's yours?' "
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), November 08, 1999
"But something went wrong when programmers wrote the new instructions into the computer code. It didn't show up at first, but then it rippled through the data, she said. Chasing those ripples is part of what's made the error difficult to fix.
FOF -- so easy, so simple, 2 or 3 hours, NOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 08, 1999.