Warning: This will eventually turn into a rant!!.....
Well, today was the day. I went to register for Social Security. BH and I had this planned for a week. And being that it's an hour's drive from home, we consolidated our errands.
Most of yesterday was spent gathering all the proofs needed; birth, divorce, marriage, income tax returns, W2 statement, Unemployment confirmation, SS estimation of benefits, and BH's SS award letter for this year. I was sooooo ready!
Of course we had been checking all this on the internet. The same site said to apply 3 months before you turned of age and "no appointment necessary". I also looked up the street by street directions to get there, and printed out the map as a certainty.
We are ready. The plan was to leave home at exactly 8 am. Stop at the garbage plant and pay our bill; stop at DMV and register BH's fishing car and the boat; next to the SS office; then to Target for niece's shower gifts; on to the home improvement store for odds and ends - and a new filet knife to replace the one BH can't find. Then to daughter's to take care of some business with her. Go to the auto repair shop to have to A/C recharged in the van; last stop is grocery shopping.
So we arrive at the SS office. The guard greats us and asked the reason for being there. "I'm signing for SS", I say politely. He hands me a clip board, "fill out this paper and here is your number. You'll be called shortly". He was very polite.
The little slip from the machine that prints out "next to be served" numbers says mine is 53. BH and I are the only clients in the building. I should have known this was a bad omen. Within 10 minutes, a young lady calls my number. I should have stood up and looked around the room, then looked at my slip of paper. But I didn't think it would end as it did........
We walk over to her cubby hole, sit down. "How can I help you?" she asks. "I'm here to sign for Social Security" say I, manilla envelope in hand, with every piece of paper that would not only prove who I am, but probably give someone enough information to become me - no problem. And here's the problem.......
"Oh, you can't do that here. You can only apply either on-line or over the phone", says she. "Wh-Wh-What, I can't apply here?" "That's right. You apply over the phone or internet, then we would call you and make an appointment. All our reps are with other people right now".
With a half smile on my face, because I sure as hell don't want to sound angry or sarcastic, I reply "But there's NO ONE ELSE here". "Oh, but the reps are on the phones with them; it's a very busy day". "And", she continues, "you can only apply at the office, with an appointment, no more than a month before your birthday; but you can apply over the phone or internet up to 4 months before that".
And here's where it gets REAL good and starts the gray matter in your head to just about explode:
"So when I apply over the phone or internet, how do I show all my proofs of identity??" "THERE'S NO NEED", she says; "IF THE COMPUTER SPITS OUT A PROBLEM WHEN THE REP IS ENTERING YOUR INFO, THEY WILL CALL YOU AND ASK YOU SOME QUESTIONS". That's it. You apparently don't have to show them ANY proof of who you are. And you'll receive the money you have worked hard for all your life, in monthly installments, til you drop dead.
Now, think about this the next time you want to open a bank account. Federal Law prohibits a bank from issuing you an account without a picture ID, proof of address, and your Social Security card. There may even be a few other "proofs" you need. Even if you live in a town of 400 residents, you've been banking there for 15 years, and you know the bank president by name, and she knows you.
And we wonder how ID theft can be sooo prevelant or how illegals can pass themselves off as a card-carrying, tax paying, hard working citizen using our name.
Think about it long and hard the next time you hear the BlowHard politicians ranting how Social Security is breaking the Country!!
Remember this the next time you go to the doctor's or find yourself in the hospital, the same hospital you've gone to all your adult life, and they STILL need to make a copy of your insurance card, and you STILL have to fill out all the info: name, address, phone number, spouse's name, doctor's name, ad nauseum. AND, they're entering all this on the computer ---- for the umpteenth time!
Oh yeah. I'll be on the computer tomorrow. Social Security, here I come!
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