I waited until today to take my proof of the bank account (or lack thereof) because Social Security says in its nice letters that they are busiest early in the month and week. So, I go in today, and there are four windows open when I arrive (out of 20). Yes, I said, four out of twenty. This may not sound too bad, but consider that Madison County has approximately 320,000 residents, and the office also serves Jackson County (another 55,000). So, about 375,000 people demand the services of this office and they have 4 windows open. Does this sound intelligent?
The first thing that happens when you enter the office is that you go to this little machine that asks you why you’re there. It says that you should press the button that corresponds to the reason. Well, there’s a keypad next to it, so I press the keypad. The security guard gets huffy because apparently, it’s a touch screen thing. (I later learn that you can get through with just using the keypad…it just talks to you when you do.) I want to point out to the guy that if you’re required to touch the screen and not use the keypad, then they should change the wording on the machine and they should take away the keypad. I also wonder what happens to the blind people who come via Handiride and don’t have anyone to tell them what’s going on? Social Security Disability was initially set up to help them, so I wonder how they can be seen if they work with the machine.
Anyways…so I am now looking at the four windows from the waiting area. There are about a hundred or so people in the waiting area at this point. Window A goes on lunch break for an hour. Window B, C, and D each have people. Window D is the most efficient government worker I’ve ever seen. Every five minutes, she’s calling new people up. C is kind of efficient, calling people about every 10-15 minutes. Window B, though, has the same man with him for an hour. This prompts my dad and I to make jokes. I tell him that as soon as Window B is done with the man he’s with, he’ll close his window and go on break. This actually happens and we laugh. Window A comes back and sees people about every 7 minutes. Windows 9 and 7 call up 2 people who have appointments. Window B comes back and he calls someone…that someone being: me.
This man, who I have spent the last two hours making fun of is the man who holds my SSI future in his hands. My father and I go up to the window and I have to keep from laughing. He asks me why I’m there and I tell him. I hand him the letter from the bank. (I considered printing out a thing from Google to show that the alleged bank that I have some of this excess money is actually a sports arena, but I didn’t.) He eventually asks how much money is in the account that does exist, and I’m honest: $10. That’s how much money I have to my name. He seemed shocked. I guess he expected me to be little miss high roller since I get all that government money and had quite a bit of money 4 years ago. Apparently, he does not realize that the woman who saw me to approve my claim in 2005 told me that I should keep as little money as possible because of the SSI. He also does not realize that buying groceries once a month can eat up an SSI check very quickly.
So, he spends about 30 minutes with me, and tells me that the person who needs to approve the changes to my account is not there. He takes down my phone number and tells me that she will call me if I need more paperwork. I figure that this will not come in the form of a phone call, though, but in another letter asking me what assets I really have since I spent all of that money they believe I have. I guess I can take in the boxes of Beanie Babies from that wild and crazy eBay weekend of 2006. Or perhaps I should show them my receipts from Wal-Mart for groceries. Oh, or how about I show my check registry where I’ve had to pay people like my former headache specialist because he’s too good to accept Medicaid.