Today I visited my local Social Security office. There were two reasons for my visit. One was because my online account with them was locked and I needed to get back in there. They had no clue what happened and didn’t know what caused the lockout. They unlocked it after I provided my information and showed them ID.
Now that was the easy part. I have already called their national number and told them I was working. I was hoping to report my earnings online, but as an independent contractor you can’t do that online. I just found out. I will be headed back to the same office to bring in my paperwork at some point.
The other reason I showed up there was the complex part. I had been told by their customer service people at that 800 number that I could get my records from Social Security, that is, my disability file, if I showed up in person. This wasn’t so easy.
First, they claimed they had destroyed all my records because they were paper only. I pointed out that I had a redetermination in 2007, did they not have this? They claimed, at this point, that since I was determined to be permanently disabled, there was no reason to keep my paperwork. There was no question, they said. Really?
I stood there smiling and healthy-looking. Others came in with physical ailments that were obviously a hindrance. People had had strokes, etc. What is wrong with this picture?
I said, “Well you must have something on me, right? You must at least have a code number or some such thing.”
Each time I had a question, the person left, consulted with someone, then, came back. Don’t you hate that? I do!
Then they told me to sit and wait to be called again. I did so. I sent off a text or two and a few emails. They could see here I am capable of using a cellular telephone, of walking, talking, communicating.
Then what? I got called in and it turned out that this person was the manager of this site. The top brass. She seemed young to be in that position…well….good for her for getting the advancement. We spoke for a while.
They claimed, at first, that they had nothing on me, but I kept on pressing the issue. I continued to persist. Yes, they do. She said, “I should tell you it will cost you money to get these records.”
Was that going to stop me? I wonder if she was hoping it would. I shrugged and said, “Okay.” I think she was a bit surprised…and now what was she going to do? The kid with the braid wants her papers….eh?
I clarified many times that I had no guardian and did not live in a facility. I illustrated that I am aware of the year I was put on, the doctor that did it, and the docs that never questioned and just continued the disability.
I also told her I was working and had called the 800 number to tell them.
I cannot believe the question I got next. “You had a representative payee for a time, didn’t you?”
This was the exact wording of her question. As I see it, she worded it that way hoping for me to confess. I have never had a representative payee! I clarified again.
Was this supposed to stop me? I hinted about an attorney…which by the way, I recommend to anyone whether you have one or not. She asked me who it was, and I was able to say, “He is out of state and you don’t know him.” Then, I added, “Most of the local ones help you get on disability, and they’ll even help people who want to cheat the system.” She agreed. Now I was getting somewhere.
She handed me a paper and told me to come back with it filled out. Had I known how easy it was to fill out the paperwork, I would have done it right there and handed it to them.
She then said, “So you want to work now, is that it?” Um….I told her I had a job already. She asked how long. I told her. Did I perceive some surprise here?
She continued to tell me I could work while on disability. Say what? Do I want to earn so little that I also am “disabled”? I clarified again. No, I am working now. I have a job.
Then she said, “You can earn up to around 800 dollars a month, you know.” I think she was expecting me to say how great that was that I could keep my benefits, that are not benefits actually. I told her I was earning much more than that. She didn’t expect this.
I left with the paper I need to fill out, thanked them, and acted cheerful. I felt cheerful, in fact.
I see the form and have looked it over. I am not sure if you can get this form online or not. This isn’t a complex form if you are getting your own records. I will need to submit this somehow and pay whatever fee they charge me. I want to see what they come up with. I think they have all the paperwork, in fact, and I doubt it has been destroyed at all. I think they know how hard it will be to dig it up, and that’s the real issue. I’m waiting.