3/8/05 ~ Social Security

Here's the story. Melissa and I wanted to buy new couches. So we thought we'd apply for a loan with the EECU, which can be taken out of my teacher's paycheck before taxes. Cool. The problem is/was that you cannot apply for a loan, unless you have a Social Security card. It's one of those lovely post 9/11 things according to the bank people I talked with. Huh. While we "officially" don't have a national identification card, certainly seems like you can't do some fairly important stuff without that card. I lost mine. Sucks. I have a passport, a birth certificate, a driver's license, pay stubs baring my name, an Arlington library card, and a teacher's ID card-- but with no SS card, no pass go.

The plan? We'd borrow the money from Melissa's parents, while I get a new card to get the loan to pay them back for the couches we got.

I went to the local SS office to get my replacement card. I had Kennedy with me, because Melissa was at work (this was about two months ago). The line felt like Ellis Island, and moved at the same pace. Screw that. I'm mailing off my application. So I did-- with my passport, as requested by the application. Two weeks later, I get it back. I forgot to file out a part of the application. Oops. I sent it off again. Supposedly, the turnaround time is two weeks. It's been a month.

I call the office number listed for the local branch (800-772-1213). However, this is not the local office number. This is the national office. Okay. I wait for the next representative to take my call. My call is important to them. My call will be answer in the order to which is received. Please hold. Wait time. 7 minutes.

Interesting footnote: The gentle voice recording over the light jazz music was offering pro-Social Security reform propaganda. No kidding. Talked about how changes need to be made soon to help social security for the year 2042 and beyond, and also explaining how each generation pays into the next, with the extra amount put back into the account, etc.

This is insane. Who knew Social Security administration was republican?

For the record, Social Security can correct itself, because when a surplus of workers pays into a smaller amount of retirees. The surplus is put back into the fund, which accounts for those times when the retirees are greater than the workers. And since my generation is considerably smaller than either the baby boomers ahead of us and the younger generation behind us, the administration is not giving the whole picture. Even though people are living longer, my generation is having few children. It works out. The problem comes when the federal government borrows from Social Security and is unable to pay back into it. The problem is deficit spending and an unbalanced budget. Thank you Bush.

Also, it is misleading to say that Social Security will "run out of money". It only means that in the next fifty year or whatever Social Security will hypothetically cease to be profitable-- which medicare is already in the situation. Why aren't we working on medicare reform?

Okay, back to the story, I finally get through to a person-- who tells me she can't help, I'll have to call the local office. She gives me the actual number.

I call them. The wait is three times as long. Fortunately, I'm using my cell phone, so I drive from my house to work while on hold. When I finally get through, the new person tells me she can't help me either. She'll check with her advisor (who I apparently don't have access to). According to the new person, I should call back in a week, if nothing comes back to me.