An ex-US Navy serviceman voiced his fear of becoming homeless due to an issue with his social security pension. Living in his house in Alva has become a challenge.

Michael Baumeister, 74, who moved to the UK since 1997, has divided his time between Scotland and London, brightening up the streets with his music and bagpipe performances.

However, the military veteran, who served seven years in the US Navy and held several jobs back in the US, claims he is now without money due to a misunderstanding over his social security paperwork from the US. He says he has mislaid the annual documents that confirm his details and not returned them on time.

Due to this, his usual monthly pension income of nearly $1,400 got suspended since the holiday season. Up until now, he alleges that he hasn’t received a response to multiple applications for a ‘request for reconsideration’ form. The dire situation has left Michael struggling to pay his bills, relying on the goodwill of generous locals for financial aid and using the Alva Parish Church Foodbank to fulfil basic necessities.

Michael detailed his plight saying, “I was late in submitting the form which led to the freezing of my funds. Despite having a right to that monthly sum, I’ve not been able to use it. It’s a financial disaster for me simply due to a misplaced form back in October, which I usually fill out each year. I’ve written four times since March to get this sorted out but I’ve received no reply from the US consulate in Edinburgh or any other authorities.”

He added, “Every effort I’ve made was respectful and patient, but I think it’s time for ‘calling out’ as I continue to borrow money from kind-hearted people to handle my financial predicament. The situation has also caused me to fall two weeks behind on my house rent. My utility and mobile phone bills have ballooned and if I do get kicked out, I’ll have no place to stay. I already spent 18 months in a homeless shelter in London and I wouldn’t want to do that again.”

Michael’s disinclination to go down that route again also attributed to a terrible incident he faced in 2019 while being homeless in London. His backpack, which contained his passport and driver’s licence, was stolen. He hopes that presenting his troubles in the open would help him secure a personal meeting with officials at the Edinburgh consulate, where he can resolve his issue.

“I necessity is a time and date with the consulate as only they hold the authority to solve this,” Michael further commented.

In response, a representative of the US Consulate in Edinburgh suggested that US citizens in Scotland requiring emergency consular assistance could reach the US Consulate General Edinburgh via email and find more info on their website.

“Due to privacy considerations, we can’t provide additional comments,” the representative remarked.

In relevance to this, a spokesperson from Clackmannanshire Council affirmed that the support provided would largely depend on Michael’s personal circumstances, which could be negotiated directly with him.

Stories like these highlight the lived reality of retired servicemen in cities like Glasgow, per our dedicated news coverage.