Our Social Security in Action Part II

by C. M. Albrecht

Recently, after a long and arduous period involving extensive paperwork, doctor visits, attorney visits and court proceedings, a judge finally awarded my disabled son a fully favorable decision.
Of course we knew nothing about this because the letter went to an address none of us had ever heard of. That was to be expected of course.
Eventually someone from SS called and we learned of the judge’s decision, and the caller assured us that everything was now in the works.
After nearly another month without a word and no letters, my wife went to the SS office and spent the day waiting around to eventually talk to an agent.
While George Takei greets you with a smile in the waiting room, the agent at the back didn’t get the memo. She frowned repeatedly at the paperwork, obviously unhappy with what she read.
Now when stating his opinion, the judge in writing his decision, based it on the testimony of several doctors and the law as it applies to SS. Cut and dried. Should be no question, right?
However this agent kept frowning and repeating, as she looked it over, that she just couldn’t understand how this got by. She spent the entire time letting my wife know that, in her opinion the judge must have been on drugs or something. Finally, she very reluctantly had to go ahead and process the claim, but made it obvious the she just didn’t think it was right. I’m sure her opinion is an important part of her job description. We just didn’t realize how important that was.

Mr. Takei out front doesn’t have an opinion. He thinks you’re just another worthy American citizen who has been paying insurance money into SS for a lifetime and now it’s time to cash out. The agent in the back does have an opinion and wonders why in hell you’re bothering her with your problems and asking for a handout.

A few days later we got a letter from SS telling us about the payment process.
“We will be in touch with you regarding back payments.”
At last! That’s nice.
“As we told him before, we are withholding part of his payment to get back money he was overpaid.”
Told him what before? What money? What overpaid? He’s never received a dime so far.
“The $88.08 we will withhold is 10%.” Ten percent of what?
“If you want to pay more or less, please contact your local SS office.”
That’s a comfort. Maybe we can pay back less on what we won’t owe.
None of this is surprising at all. Since our first brush with the administration it’s been obvious that, aside from Mr. Takei and his warm welcome, none of the other employees give a damn. They demonstrate no interest in doing more than shuffling people through the system so they can get to their next break or lunch period. They clearly demonstrate that no one cares. They make it pretty clear that they consider you a wannabe welfare recipient and it’s their job to thwart that if possible. Just entering the office is worse than going to prison to visit an inmate. The employees work (understandably) behind bullet-proof glass. They have everything but a lie detector and that may be forthcoming.
This is bureaucracy at its worst. Coming out of the SS office one feels like he’s just read another novel by Franz Kafka. Worse, one feels he’s one of the characters in the novel.

On a more cheerful note. My wife did run into Elvis. He’s waiting like the rest of us.

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