This week: Social Insecurity!Edited by: ￦eb￦i₸ch
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This is a newsletter about: How to Get Old, People. OR, How to get OLD PEOPLE!
Hello folks! Welcome to another edition of the Comedy Newsletter!
It’s May and summer is creeping up on us in the Northern Hemisphere. However, spending my frosty falls until later spring in Florida, does ease the pain a little.
I am a witch of a certain age. I have decided to cash-in those years that have gone beyond the Retirement benefits’ requirement period to collect Social Security. I figured, it would be a great time to get that all settled out before I head back North, soon. I live in a smaller community in Florida that actually has a Social Security office to go to and get things done, face to face, compared to the cattle-call sized lines up North, in the bigger cities. Let me Prepare you for your future, in case you aren’t on the same page as I am at this time. If your situation is unique at all for a robot to figure out on the phone -- you’re gonna have headaches!
I started by calling the Social Security number for an office within my area. A very nice lady, with very bad phone equipment, spoke to me about my options. It went something like this:
“Yes, I’d like to apply for retirement benefits. I am - - years old.” (Missing numbers intended )
“That’s good, then you certainly do qualify! Let’s get started, shall we ...”
At that point, I threw a monkey wrench into the whole simple-form procedure. I stated I wanted to collect the higher of two Social Securities, which meant I wanted to collect on spousal benefits. It’s the thing you can do if your were married at least ten years, and your spouse had higher earnings.
“Well, uhm, let me see if we have all the required paperwork you need.”
She disappeared for a while as I waited on a phone that sounded like an old modem’s background noise. (What happened to elevator music? By now even that should be cheap enough for the government to afford.) But, no! It was squealing noise with an occasional scratching and popping. Finally she picked up and I could hear her, but she couldn’t hear me. I mean, it’s not like I want to call back as I’d be on hold until the next available employee could answer my call. And, be mindful that “The average wait for this time of this day is around 20 minutes.” I hoped beyond just crossing my fingers type of hope, that she wouldn’t hang up. The phone made calling sounds and a few more beeps, and I heard her voice again. Thankfully, this time she heard mine.
“I’m sorry, we are having issues with our lines. Now, let’s schedule an appointment for ... “
Oh, rats! She’s scheduling an appointment a week later than I want to leave the state!
“Are you sure there’s no closer date than that?”
“Yes, Ma’am, quite sure. Of course you could always take a chance and go into your local office and see if they can take you earlier. “
“Well, okay, why don’t you give me the time for that scheduled appointment, and I will have it just in case.”
“Your scheduled time is ... Garble, garble, blah, blah, hisssssssssss!”
“Excuse me, could you repeat that please?”
“Ma’am? Are you still there?”
“Yes, I’m here, can you hear me? Please say you can hear me?!!!”
Then I heard the sound. That sound of a line going dead. Dead like what they prefer I be so as not to collect a penny -- that kind of dead.
The next day, I decided a trip to the local Social Security office would be worth a chance. I figured just after noon-ish would be good, because most people run there early in the a.m. I don’t run, walk or even make coffee before I’ve had my coffee in the morning. Nope, noon’s for me. While they take turns grabbing lunch, those there will be in line to get their number called. Those who haven’t shown up yet will grab lunch before going there, and that leaves me near-first for the afternoon crowd!
I remarked to WebLock, “See, I told you there wouldn’t be many cars here. It’s practically an empty parking lot!”
I head to the door with all my paperwork in a briefcase and look inside. Hmmm, better than I thought! Nobody’s sitting there.” I grabbed for the door, but it strongly resisted my pull upon it. I saw a sign over to the right of the door on a wall. My jaw dropped as I read the Wednesday hours. Opens at 8:00 a.m. — Closes at Noon. They got me! Again!
The next day, I decided I preferred to go to the pool and relax in the sun, rather than sitting in an SS office!
Friday, my timing plan in tow, we returned at noon-thirty, and even to my surprise, the parking lot was nearly empty! I went inside --yes it was open! I grabbed my number prepared to take my choice of seat in a practically empty room. Just as I sat myself down, the guard came up to me and said “window 8.” Really? I can go to window 8 right now?
“Yes Ma’am. Window 8.”
I felt wonderful! What great luck to be called immediately upon arrival! My plan worked. While everyone else in about-to-retiredom decided to go for lunch, I slipped in and got my number! Actually the SS employee had MY number. After I filled him in on why I was there, he said: “You need to make an appointment. We don’t take walk-ins!”
Whaaaaaaat? There’s nobody here. Why are you here if not to help people?
“I answer questions on Friday. Your question is answered. My earliest available appointment is in June ...”
“Whoa, wait a minute! I was on the phone in the middle of making an appointment three days ago, and the line went dead before I knew what time.”
“Oh, yes, I see your appointment here on the computer. It’s for 2:30 on a Friday.”
“Oh, is that a Friday that you are allowed to do more than just answer questions?”
“ Hmmm. Very funny Ma’am. Have a good day.”
Okay, now I know it’s a conspiracy to get old people. They want to make us jump through hoops to receive what is owed to us. Keep us on the end of the strings and keep twisting them until we get so dizzy we fall and we can’t get up!
That evening when I checked the mail, I found a letter from the SS. It said, as per our phone conversation a few days ago, I have an appointment at 2:30 on that Friday. It went on to say if I wanted to do so, I could apply online with their convenient application process. I just need certain documents ready to give them after applying. Also, should I decide to do the application online, I could cancel my presently scheduled appointment at the office!!! Why couldn't the guy behind window number 8 just give me an application to fill out ahead of time? I guess he's not allowed to print out forms on his question-answering "Friday."
I was so thrilled to read that. I could fill out the application, and leave the week I wanted to leave and put this distasteful event behind me.
The next day while sitting by the pool, I pulled up the SS sitedotgov and put in the password I used when I got my Medicare card. It didn’t work!!! I didn’t want to panic, being a logically minded person, and remembered they like to wipe out old passwords after so many months pass. I requested a new PW, but rather than sending a code to my phone, like they usually do, they placed me on the torture page! I now had to prove I am who I am by responding to some questions. Small potatoes, right?
1.What hospital was I born in? I got this, I have my birth certificate! The hospital doesn’t exist anymore, though. Hmmmm, a trick question?
2. The middle name of a sibling in a certain line of birth order. Simple enough I know the person really well ‘cause I grew up with him.
3. What was your first childhood phone number? Okay, now I’m sure they are trying to get old people!
I gave it my best shot considering it was a party line phone with about four numbers only. I failed the test! I repeated the question process a couple more times just in case I missed a letter or a number or forgot to buy a vowel. No luck! Oh, come on, this is ridiculous! I got a red alert stating I had attempted to access my account too many times, thus I was being locked out of online access. Dang robot-controlled customer service!
By the time you read this, folks, I will still be awaiting my appointment face-to-face -- I hope. And then, I can look forward to being safely ensconced at my Northern Command Center. Wish me luck!!!
That’s all she howled for this edition of the Comedy Newsletter.
Until next time--laugh hard, laugh often!
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