By Marilyn, on February 8th, 2012
I was in a situation a couple of weeks ago; it was not a positive situation. I found I am not as positive a person as I want to be—I have some work to do. I have been pretty positive through all that we have gone through since November. I became pretty angry when I was reminded that I am ruled by “homeland security guards”. I am a senior, probably not computer literate. I carry a heavy purse. And that “official” defined by the government rules our lives. Uh oh, there is my anger rising up again.To get my Social Security payment, I applied and got a response quickly back with the amount. Wow, I thought how easy was that! Wrong—the phone calls began from the local SS office. “Please bring this paper in from your school teaching days.” ”Don’t remember getting that much…” I said, when I went in the first time.
If you have never been to this office, women with purses and anyone with a backpack get searched—but men with big pockets on their coats, do not. The guard will ask why you are coming, which is really not any of his business—he is employed by DECO Security not SS.
“Well, we need to see an official PERA letter with the amount and when the payout was made.” I get the letter and take it back. Fine, the clerk says and then she checks my phone number and address, etc. We think we get that changed, but when I get another phone call –they called my husband’s phone first.
It is not a good time to talk, but I talk to the man as I am walking my 90 year old mother in for tests, who tells me two things—I must bring in my marriage certificate—because my maiden name got changed and I must prove my maiden name and something about how my federal pension will affect my payment. This call comes two or three weeks after I had been in with the PERA letter—no notice from the clerk that day that my maiden name was not right. Curious! We go to our storage unit and my husband and I find our wedding book with the only marriage certificate we have (married 42 years ago—way before computers doing everything). I go in with my wedding book, confused how my maiden name got changed, because it was right in the application and on all my official papers from SS and my federal job, so in my mind this office has changed my maiden name.
The guard makes a derogatory statement about my purse, takes my license back to the man who called me. My number gets called by the clerk so I tell her, I do not have my license, the guard has taken it away and not come back. The guard has taken it upon himself to solve my business with the SS office. The clerk has me sit back down.
When the guard comes back with my license, he tells me man working on my SS business is sick and my application has been turned over to someone else. I am really confused now. The clerk calls me again and I show her my wedding certificate and she replies she needs the “official” one—not “the pretty one”. Well, now I am angry.
I ask how my name got changed when it has been right until the local man started to work on my SS payout. It was right on the first paper work I received. She tells me probably when social security changed from paper to computers. NO, I reply. It has been right until you locally started to work on my records. She says no, it’s not their fault. She offers to give the phone number of the state where I need to call. I decline: why would I trust her to give me the right one. Well, I say one curse word (s#$#) as I am walking away, after a bit of ranting.
As I get to the elevator, the guard comes up behind me and tells me he cannot permit any cursing. If I continue, I will be banned from entering that office. I did not curse at him, just angrily asserted it was their fault my name was changed and that this will probably delay my February payment, as I was told by the clerk. He asserted it was not their fault and I was told not to claim so.
My husband has ordered the official certificate — cost $31.75 which we had to order from the county where we were married — not the state as the SS clerk claimed. The county takes your money right away then you must fax a copy of the order before they will send anything.
Well, now the dilemma—can I go into the SS office when my “official” certificate arrives? Can I contain my anger? I have tried by writing this all out—this is the second time.
Oddly, I have received a payment, plus a second letter confirming my SS payment from the Great Lakes Program Service Center—not the local office and the letter I received has not said anything about needing to prove my maiden name.
SO, how do we handle our anger? It is not healthy, but I do not think I should not get angry, especially when this has cost me time and money to correct THEIR error. I feel our government and this office in particular, needs to accept the responsibility of their actions. It made me feel like we have no rights really. SO again, I am thinking I need to handle my anger and be positive and assertive without the negative anger that can control me for way too long. I don’t want to be a person who cannot give up the anger, but a person who can experience it and let it go. I want to be able to be able to be assertive in a positive manner that can affect a change.