You Think I Was Stressed Two Posts Ago?

March 31, 2011

Guess what’s in my bank account this morning (April 1st)  — yep!  The missing social security check from March 16th.  I wasted four hours yesterday waiting for someone to call number 31 — now I must return the in-office check.  I’m thinking US Postal Service rather than in person. First I’ll make sure it’s not an April Fools joke — though I think our government has little sense of humor.

I am simply frazzled after today.

I decided that since I was past retirement age, I would apply for Social Security.  After 66 (which happens very soon), you have no limit on the amount of income you can earn while you are drawing Social Security.  I thought it would be nice to have that extra money coming in so I could cut back my work hours a little.  (Actually I thought “Aha! Dog money!”)  I applied on-line in early January.  I received the award letter letting me know I would not receive money for January based on my previous year’s earnings, but payments would begin in February — to be received beginning in mid-March.  That was fine.

So, mid-March was a couple of weeks ago and I received no deposit.  I called Social Security and it appears someone had entered my bank account number incorrectly — added a 1 in front of the actual number, so the bank sent the payment back to Social Security.  I was told that I would have the new deposit in 3 to 5 business days.  What actually happened, in 4 business days, Social Security pinged my bank account to make sure it was a real account.  When I saw the ping (for ZERO dollars), I called Social Security.  I was assured an electronic payment had been issued and it would be in my account in 3 to 5 business days.  (There is an echo in here.)  So, this Monday was 3 to 5 business days — and there was no money in my account.  I called Social Security where I am on a first name basis with a number of the “agents”.  No one knew what was wrong, but they decided to try a different way to get the money to my account.  It would be there in 72 hours which is today.  Nope!

I called Social Security this morning.  There were plenty of apologies.  One of the high up supervisors told me to come to the office (which is just down the street from my office) and they would cut me a check there; said they weren’t busy at the moment; also assured me the check for April was going to be fine.  When I arrived, I knew I had completed my application on line for a reason.  There were 100 people waiting to be seen.  I tapped some info onto a computer monitor and it spit a number at me.  31  So I sat down with my little piece of paper.  Two hours later, 31 had not been called.  I forgot to tell you that they held a fire drill in the middle of all the waiting — everyone went outside for 30 minutes — no kidding! Finally a woman came out to verify the numbers that were really outstanding.  She didn’t call 31.  I showed her my number and she just groaned.  Meanwhile there were two people with 51 and two people with 73, and a couple people with F488.  The computer had burped and the numbers were all messed up.  I tugged on her sleeve — “Are you Wendy”?  She said yes and I said who I was.  She launched into an apology and next thing I knew I was sitting at a window with a supervisor.  They wrote a check, but when they brought it to me, it was not my full Social Security amount because in-office checks have a limit.  Guess what — the balance will be in my account in 3 to 5 business days.

Now they might think they are safe while I’m in Houston, but I have all of their numbers and extensions.  I WILL phone them.

To put this in a greater context, you should know that I accept appointments to represent indigent defendants in Federal Court.  Congress is so busy bickering about repealing health reform — and whatever else, that it has not passed a budget.  Congress is operating on three week long “continuing resolutions”.  Unfortunately for those of us who accept the Federal appointments, our payments have been deferred.  We will get paid — just cannot predict when.  That is how I want to pay my taxes — if I have no money, I just defer payment without interest or penalty.  Seems fair to me.


  1. C-Myste says:

    Meanwhile, at the day-job we got paid early for a quarter of monitoring at the VA Dom. I guess they were afraid that if a budget didn’t get passed soon that they wouldn’t be able to pay and they need us.

  2. Builder Mama says:

    Ah, the beauty of bureaucracy! You wouldn’t believe what we had to go through to get my dad his VA benefits…it was downright outrageous. You would think serving in three wars would be enough, but apparently not. Can you sense the bitterness in my tone?

  3. Cheryl says:

    Ah, yes, I remember it well. I worked as a paralegal for a disability firm for five years in Asheville, NC, when I first moved from Colorado. The bureaucracy was an absolute nightmare for a lot of our clients. Sounds about right that you took all that time out of your day to go get your check and then have it show up the next day. VERY frustrating! And yup, the SS offices ALWAYS looked like that!

  4. Dealing with the government is a nightmare. Every year at this time my better half (who is a verrrry calm person) rants and raves and fusses and fumes over the taxes………


    I know just what you mean about relaxing once you get on the plane and there’s nothing left to do! Hoping you have a SUPER week next week!

  5. Janet says:

    My favorite was a couple of weeks ago when Congress called an EMERGENCY session to defund NPR. I fell so much better now that Click and Clack are on the rocks.