Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Every other time the call went to another place

On the frustrations of bad phone connections at the Social Security Administration...

On April 27, I will turn 65.  I can hardly believe it.  But one reality which forces me to believe it is Social Security and Medicare.  My religious community wants me to sign on to it at 65, and so I will. Fortunately, we have a wonderful woman named Becky S. with the patience of a saint whose job it is to negotiate the quagmire of Health Insurance for all of us, under and over 65.  She's been helping me to do this, and she's been doing most of the phone work. 

Last week, though, I received a phone mail message from a Mrs. Brown, an agent in the Teleclaims department assigned to me. In her message she said she just had a few questions, and  asked me to call her back at 877-593-3955, extension 5734.  My paperwork is all in, except for the earnings statement from 2012; I figured this would be simple.  I had the flu last week, so I waited to call her back until today.  Well....  after more than an hour being bumped from one recorded message to another dead end, I gave up.  I emailed Becky S to report this, and she later emailed me back, saying

"Sister Anne,
This was a real challenge trying to get through to the phone number you were given. Every other time the call went to another place as it did with you. I looked up the application that I entered for another Sister the same day as yours was completed and the extension number given for her had 5 numbers and began with a “6” so I tried that and actually was given a voice mail for a representative. The name was not included on the voicemail but I did leave your name and cell phone number for a return call. Hopefully Mrs. Brown will call you back. "

After that, I at least felt I was not alone in this quagmire.  So we will see what will happen.

I guess I am predisposed to think badly of the Social Security Administration agents because back in 2002 I had such a miserable time with the social service agents I was assigned when I was applying for Medicaid for my parents.  It was torture, and I felt an attitude of cool disdain emanating from several of the women who handled my parents' case.  Now I know this is irrational, since we're talking about different agencies, but there it is.

I always wonder what happens to really poor people with minimal literacy who have to negotiate these murky waters.

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