Housekeeping and Bureaucracy

First of all today, I’ve tightened the home page of this site by removing the “pinned” profile post with my photo from the top of posts. Instead I’ve condensed that content, and the photo, into the right sidebar.

Second, I’ve begun dealing with the Social Security Administration in order to apply for and begin receiving benefits. I’m 66 years and some months old.

I filled out an application online just over a month ago. Two weeks later I got a letter in the mail, requesting documentation of proof of my citizenship (e.g. a passport), and telling me to call the SSA office in downtown Oakland, and speak to LIN (as the letter said). Their concern was, since I said I had been born in Melton, England, that I might not be a US citizen. I called the office (after several tries; the line was either busy, or would lead me through an options chain only to tell me “your call cannot be completed at this time”) and finally spoke to Lin. The upshot was I needed to bring “naturalization papers” (which I explained I didn’t have, for reasons) or a passport (which I do have), to their office for physical inspection. She made an appointment for me for this afternoon, Monday the 28th.

So we went there, to the office on 22nd street and the door guard wouldn’t let me in. Do you want to drop something off? No; I was told someone would inspect my documents while I waited. He said they don’t do those kinds of appointments here (or any other kind, given the pandemic), maybe at another office.

So we came home and I called Lin back… she was offline for the day, so I left voicemail.

I’m not at all surprised by this example of inefficient bureaucracy, or perhaps simply miscommunication, and I’m wondering how long this will go on before I’m approved and begin receiving SSA benefits, which apparently I’ve been eligible for since last October.

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