Our Social Security Administration at Work and at Play

by C. M. Albrecht

Warning! May not be suitable for innocent children.

Elivs

 Today a certain person who receives SS through a payee learned that the SS had not deposited her funds in the bank. She called SS and was told that since her payments went to a payee, only the payee could discuss her situation with them. Luckily the payee is honest, but what if?

I got to thinking that a payee could quietly be living on beachfront property in Mexico and no one would ever know. She and she alone can negotiate with SS for her ward’s affairs.

Turns out the reason for stopping the payment was that SS send a letter to a 3-year old address that has been changed at least twice during that time. Since the letter was returned as undeliverable, they cut off payment. No skin off their noses.

Then to resolve the entire issue the payee had to appear in person at an SS office and bring plenty of documentation.

Despite the cheerful TV commercials and Mr. Takei’s smiling face, the situation at the SS offices had deteriorated so badly that now you practically have to undergo a strip search to get inside. Empty purse and pockets, remove shoes and I’m not sure what else. Although the wait inside may be hours you can’t even bring in a bottle of water, so forget a peanut butter sandwich. It’s understandable that we have more ill feeling for the SS than for the IRS. The SS is so hopelessly bureaucratic and mismanaged that nothing can get done. Even the Three Stooges said “We always get it right the second time.” Not the SS.

Another victim heard his payments would stop. He went to the SS office and a courteous employee assured him it was a mistake and he had nothing to worry about. Next month no payment. When he went back, the manager cheerfully told him he must have slipped through the cracks and his only remedy was to reapply which meant starting over and losing any retroactive payments.

Another person, very dear to me, was told he had been overpaid (no reason ever given), and on the last of the month got a letter saying that starting immediately his next payments would be docked a hundred bucks a month until the amount was repaid. At SS they pointed out it was too late to stop it for the following month, but he argued that since it was an electronic payment, they should be able to get it through. Actually they did, but the following month it was the same thing. Then he received a letter saying that since he had now had a chance to review his files (what files?), they would now begin taking the hundred bucks a month.

After a long and heartbreaking go-round at the SS, the employee discovered that the files the victim had supposedly reviewed, had been “lost:”  Upshot, in the end, the employee had to relent and drop the hundred dollar payments, but only on a hardship basis, but not because the SS had done anything idiotic.

If this were Iraq, a disgruntled SS recipient would already have gone in there and immolated (if you work for the SS, look it up),  himself and the building with ten sticks of dynamite.

No wonder the SS acts as if it expects a terrorist attack. But if it comes, it won’t be from Middle-Easterners.

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