Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Killing trees

If the environuts really want to save trees they shouldn't burn down new housing developments they believe are encroaching on their beloved woods. No. They should do something really meaningful, like take on the volume of paperwork required after someone dies.

An example?

I'm eligible for survivor's benefits under Hubby's pension. In addition to the application and (10) other forms that must accompany it, I also had to include a copy of my original Social Security card. And, you'll never guess what I can't find!

(The last time I saw it only a few months ago I decided to put it in a place I'd easily remember except ...)

Since the application and (10) other forms were all completed and only needed to be mailed, I called the pension office asking if they could waive the requirement for a copy of my original Social Security card. That might sound like I was asking for special treatment or something completely unreasonable but, to me, there was a very simple logic behind my request. Since my own bi-weekly pension check comes through the same office, they already have it on file . . . somewhere.

Their answer? No. I had to include a copy of my original Social Security card.

So, when not tearing the house apart hoping to locate the easy-to-remember place I put my original Social Security card, I began trying to contact the local Social Security office by phone. No luck. With as hard as their recorded message ("All lines are busy. Call back later. <click>") is working, it definitely deserves a raise.

A visit to their office . . . four hours before I can talk to someone? But all I need is ...

Their answer? No. I gotta wait.

Or, I could call the toll free number. Which I finally did. And after working my way through the menu system the computer-generated voice, recognizing the information on file for my telephone number, said that some time within the next two weeks I could expect receipt of the form I needed to complete and submit in order to get a replacement Social Security card. (The form is also available online BUT when I printed it out the fields had been obliterated by a gray mass that popped up on the screen. And no. It wasn't from me.) Except, I'd already picked the form up while I was at the local Social Security office. If it took two weeks just to get the blank form sent to me, I could only imagine how much longer it would take for them to process it and finally send me the danged thing.

So last Friday I went to the Social Security office. The wait was (supposedly) only 45 minutes and Herself suggested we wait. BUT she and I had other running around to do and I have the benefit (???) of 24 years, 5 months and 8 days working in and around local social service agencies. (I'm retired now, thank gawd.) Which translates to although we'd been told 45 minutes, I knew we'd still be sitting there in the lobby hours (and hours) later waiting for my number to be called. Besides, when someone in the packed waiting area overheard the security guard say 45 minutes, she began laughing and said he'd told her the same thing two hours ago.

Today I had more running around to do. Drop this form off here, get copies made of this and that and mailed out . . . and take my completed application for a replacement Social Security card to the Social Security office. I'd have to wait, I knew. How long, I didn't, but I was certain it would be the last trip I'd have to make there.

The application form states that picture identification must be presented before a replacement Social Security card can be authorized, to verify that you really are the person you claim to be. It specifies a driver's license although other forms of official identification such as a passport could also be used.

Three hours after arriving, I finally left the Social Security office with a printout saying my Social Security Number is assigned to someone with my name. That's all.

Social Security won't replace my card until I return to their office — (again) and sit there for more hours waiting for my number to be called — to provide one more verification: my birth certificate.

Things had changed, the woman behind the counter explained, since my last card was issued some thirty-odd years ago, and they have no information on file regarding my mother's full name (or her Social Security number), my father's full name (or his) or my place of birth.

No, it's not my identity that's being questioned. My citizenship is.

Funny how illegal aliens don't have to go through any of this bull shit.

(I know where my birth certificate is but I'll be damned if I'm going back to the Social Security office with it unless I have to get a replacement card. Which, now, I don't because the pension office said it will accept the printout provided as a substitute for a copy of my original Social Security card.)

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Anonymous Bill Oliver said...

I know how you feel. I went through something like that a few years ago. I had a top secret security clearance, but couldn't get a Georgia driver's license.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Tammi said...

Well crap. I need a replacement SS card and I don't have the BC - and being adopted, that might be just a bit of an issue. Lovely....

So sorry for all the hassle you're dealin' with Doyle. But darned glad to see the pension office is at least NOW willin' to work with you!

2:24 PM  
Blogger GUYK said...

Enough to make a person want to shoot somebody, huh?

I have always contended that there is not much wrong with the government..but a whole lot wrong with a lot of government employees. Too many just don't give a damn about us..and if not for us they wouldn't have a job.

8:50 AM  
Blogger doyle said...

I gotta disagree with you, Guy. I spent enough years on the "other side of the counter" to know that it's not always the employee.

Sure, there's deadwood and plenty of it like the woman in the pension office. My problems with that office weren't just the silly requirement that I provide something I know they already have on file. No matter when I called or how often, not once did she pick up her phone. Everything goes to voice mail and she doesn't return calls, even if through some miracle you do actually speak to her and she says she'll call you back with an answer.

I felt sorry for the woman in the Social Security office. She did the best she could with the new (???) rules that have been imposed. I don't blame SSA, either, for imposing them with all the illegals stealing peoples' identities. They're damned if they don't take precautions and damned when the do.

She kept asking me for "stuff" and I kept providing it, I think trying to figure some way around the new (????) requirements, but there was just nothing she could do.

Rules is rules.

Thanks to the legislative and executive branches of Gubmint that have done and continue to do nothing to prevent the burden of proving that we're US citizens, being placed solely on those who are.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Norma said...

I'm so sorry you're having these problems. They seem designed to take your mind off your grief right now, although I'm sure that's not the intent. I have no idea where my SS card is--I took it out of my wallet years ago when the word was out we shouldn't carry it.

8:02 PM  

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