It is Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 and reluctantly I read through my mail.
Generally, it’s not a joyful event, as most of the letters are bills and statements or notices.
This time, it was different: A letterhead from Social Security caught my attention to the point that I searched in my purse and put on my reading glasses.
The letter informed me that my old benefit was “incorrect,” and beginning in July I will start receiving the correct amount, which was by a $100.00 more than the old benefit. My first reaction was joy! What an unexpected gift and birthday present.
Then, I started to process this great news:
When was this error discovered?
Is social security legally responsible for back pay?
If so, how much is the retroactive amount owed me?
Perhaps there is no retroactive pay, and I should just shut up and be grateful I will receive more money!
If anyone wonders, social security benefits, are not a GIFT, but an amount calculated considering my years of work and if disability and spousal benefits are involved, all those years of hard work and payments go into calculating your benefit.
$100.00 to me represents almost the amount I spend on food monthly, as I have to be on a tight budget. As they say, one person’s trash is somebody else’s treasure,” many might spend $100 on dinner and think it’s cheap, but for me $100 is a significant amount.
As I was still processing this unexpected positive event, decided the best way to get an accurate response to my questions, would be to CALL THE SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE.
Yesterday, June 30, 2016 I did. After the customary 10-15 minutes “on hold” Mr. Pham answered the phone and I explained the reason of my call. As it is customary, Mr. Pham asked me:
What is your Date of Birth? and in the same sentence, without giving me a chance to answer, assumed I did NOT know what he meant he added: “THAT MEANS, WHEN WERE YOU BORN!”
Mr. Pham, just because I have an accent you assume I don’t comprehend simple questions?
I popped in my mouth a Lisinopril pill to make sure my blood pressure was under control, and continued to be civilized.
It turned out, Mr. Pham didn’t have an answer to any of my questions. He put me on hold and spoke with his superiors.
After a few long minutes and an appology, which made me feel like a human being again, he said:
Sorry for the long wait. All I could do is forward your inquiry to our Payment Center, but they may, or MAY NOT answer you!”
“Is this department above the law? Do they have the option to answer or not answer, if the question is inconvenient?
It was a simple question: “How was the error discovered, and am I owed retroactive payments!”
As I continue to research this topic, I thought I’d share with you all, but this is ONLY the beginning…
Stay tuned. There is more coming!
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Have a Happy 4th of July!