Friday, December 5, 2014

Social insecurity

Several months ago, looking ahead to our financial future, I decided to register for retirement benefits from the Social Security system.
I had a lot of reasons to do so, one being that I like to feel prepared and even though I will lose a little by taking retirement funds before I'm 66, it would give me peace of mind to have it in place.
I noted the instructions that told me I needed to get the application in three months ahead of when I expected payments to start.
Feeling quite proud of my attention to detail, I filled out the online form and sat back to wait.
I even got a little letter in the mail telling me my attempt to register with the system online had been a successful attempt.
But that was in October and since I hadn't heard anything since, I decided to circle back and see if all was in order.
I went online with my little "re-entry" number and tried to find my application.
I logged in all right but then I was to provide a confirmation number which I did not have. I tried my "re-entry number" but the system couldn't make it work to find my application.
I then started trying to call for help.
The system was overloaded and after numerous holds and switches, I was told to call back at a less busy time.
Then I found my application and this time, there was a little line in red that said "You may have to provide a marriage certificate. We will inform you if this is the case."
I hadn't been informed but I went back through my application and made sure there was nothing else.
I made sure the "i"s were dotted and the "t"s were crossed.
I put in another call.
This time I was allowed to make an appointment for someone to call me back.
I cancelled some plans. I sat on my phone.
When the call came, the nice lady told me that, indeed, I needed to show somebody my marriage certificate...the original, please, not a person.
That meant in Provo between the hours of 9 and 3 weekdays.
I looked at the clock. I could make it if I left now!
.....No one told me the office is open weekdays EXCEPT for Wednesdays when it closes at noon.
I fumed.
I drove home.
I drove back the next morning to join a line of folks waiting outside the doors at 8:59 a.m. When we finally got in the door, we each got to take a number and sit down to wait.
Ultimately, my number was called and it took about 10 seconds to prove I was legally wed.
Now I wait some more. My application is in cyberspace circling the planet. Once it lands, I'll join the ranks of those counting on the U.S. Government for financial security.
What can go wrong?

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