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Economics Summaries
Social Security

U.S. Social Security
Monthly Retirement Payments
by Vaughn Aubuchon

Here is a record of my interaction with the US Social Security Administration, in starting my monthly Retirement Payments. Trying to receive benefits has been a rocky start.
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140


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My SS Retirement Benefits
My Chronological Experience
.

Date

Communication Received

.
Note

Dated
Nov. 29, 2013

Received
Jan. 18, 2014

I received a letter from the SSA on Jan. 15.
"Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance"
" ... you should apply now for monthly Social Security retirement payments."
Dated Nov. 29, 2013, but not received until
Jan. 18, 2014
NO PHONE NUMBER PROVIDED

Huh?

Jan. 21, 2014

I applied for benefits online.
I was given an 8-digit reference number - 5xxx-xxxx

-

Jan. 28, 2014

I checked my status online -
"A decision has NOT been made."

Huh?

Dated
Feb. 7, 2014

Received
Feb. 15, 2014

I received a letter from the SSA on Feb. 15.
From
Western Program Service Center
P.O. Box 2000
Richmond, CA 94802-1791

-

"Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance"
"Notice of Award"

-

(Page 1) "What We Will Pay And When"
"You will receive $ 2,82x.xx* around February 13, 2014. This is the money you are due for January 2014."
(As of April 2, and I have NOT received this check.)
($ 2,820.xx was deposited in my account on Feb. 4)

"Your next payment of $ 2,6xx.xx*, which is for February 2014, will be received on or about the fourth Wednesday of March 2014 (26th)." (As of April 2, I have NOT received this check.)

"After that, you will receive $ 2,66x.xx* on or about the fourth Wednesday of each month."
.

Huh?

(Page 4)
If You Have Any Questions
Local Office
SOCIAL SECURITY
169 WALNUT AVENUE
SANTA CRUZ, CA 95060

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(Page 5) "Amounts we subtracted because of: premiums for medical insurance .... $ 146.xx*. Does this mean that I no longer pay Medicare?

Huh?

Feb. 13, 2014

Came and went - NO CHECK

Huh?

Feb. 14, 2014

I checked my status online -
"A decision has been made."

Huh?

Dated
Feb. 11, 2014

Received
Feb. 25, 2014

Received a letter from the SSA
"Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance"
"Important Information"

Huh?

(Page 1) "If you have prescription drug coverage, you must also pay a prescription drug coverage IRMAA (Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount) from the check you will receive.

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"What We Will Pay And When"
"You will receive $ 2,66x.xx* for February 2014 around March 26, 2014.
(As of April 2, I have NOT received this check.)
($ 2,661.xx was deposited in my account on Mar. 26)

After that, you will receive $ 2,6xx.xx on or about the fourth Wednesday of each month.

Huh?

"We deducted $12.xx for your prescription drug coverage income-related monthly adjustment from the check you will receive for February 2014 on or about March 26, 2014. (As of April 2, I have NOT received this check.)

The monthly deduction for your prescription drug coverage income-related monthly adjustment amount is $ 12.xx.

Huh?

(Page 2) "If you have any specific questions, you may call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213, or call your local Social Security office at 1-800-780-1106.

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Mar. 3, 2014

Received a treasury check for $ 320.00*
This check had NO STUB, or any information whatsoever that explained the accounting. I have no idea what the payment represents.

Huh?

Mar. 3, 2014

Came and went - NO CHECK Direct Deposit

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Mar. 26, 2014

Came and went - NO CHECK Direct Deposit

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Apr. 23, 2014

"Fourth Wednesday of the month"
($ 2,661.xx IS EXPECTED in my account on Apr. 26)

-

.

*Amounts slightly altered for privacy.

100

300 - 450

50


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Example Phone Call to SSA
April 7, 2014
.

Discussion

.
Time

-

At https://secure.ssa.gov/RIR/Cats.do
I could NOT sign in with my previous password.
"We cannot create an account for the Social Security number you entered."

I was redirected to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/help/

"After you hear "Briefly tell me why you are calling," please say "Help Desk" for help with a my Social Security account.

I tried to make an appointment with local Santa Cruz SS Office at 1-800-772-1213. This is what I got -

man's voice - "Thank you for calling Social Security. Para espanol, marke siete. To ensure quality, your call may be monitored or recorded.

woman's voice - "Need health insurance? 2015 open enrollment at the healthcare insurance marketplace will begin for everyone on Nov. 15, 2014, and run through Feb. 15, 2015. You might still be able to enroll now, if you lost your health coverage, had another qualifying life event, or a special situation that kept you from enrolling. Visit healthcare dot gov, or call the marketplace at 1-800-318-2596, to learn more.

man's voice - "Now, to get started, you can say things like 'set up direct deposit', or 'apply for benefits'

Me - I said "Help Desk"

man's voice - "OK. My Social Security Help Desk. Just a moment while I get someone to help you. Your estimated wait time is 35 minutes.

Muzak begins playing at WAY TOO HIGH a volume.
(wait)

0:00

(1)
"Thank you for holding. Someone will assist you shortly. Please remember to have handy your social security number, and any recent mail that we may have sent you. Having this information will help us serve you better.
(back to LOUD Muzak)

1:37

(2)
"We apologize for this delay. If you are calling for general information, or are interested in applying for retirement, disability, Medicare, or spouse's benefits, you may want to visit our website www dot socialsecurity dot gov.
There you will find important information about benefits
and be able to apply from the comfort of your home or office."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

2:48

(3)
"We regret that you have waited so long. We are doing our best to answer your call. Social Security provides monthly benefits to more than 50 million people. As a result, we do have busy periods. We are taking calls in the order in which they came."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

4:11

(4)
Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience. we are still assisting other people, and will help you, as soon as we possibly can.

(back to LOUD Muzak)

5:25

(1)
"Thank you for holding. Someone will assist you shortly. Please remember to have handy your social security number, and any recent mail that we may have sent you. Having this information will help us serve you better.
(back to LOUD Muzak)

6:09

(2)
"We apologize for this delay. If you are calling for general information, or are interested in applying for retirement, disability, medicare, or spouse's benefits, you may want to visit our website www dot socialsecurity dot gov.
There you will find important information about benefits
and be able to apply from the comfort of your home or office."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

7:20

(3)
"We regret that you have waited so long. We are doing our best to answer your call. Social Security provides monthly benefits to more than 50 million people. As a result, we do have busy periods. We are taking calls in the order in which they came."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

8:42

(4)
Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience. We are still assisting other people, and will help you, as soon as we possibly can.

(back to LOUD Muzak)

9:57

(1)
"Thank you for holding. Someone will assist you shortly. Please remember to have handy your social security number, and any recent mail that we may have sent you. Having this information will help us serve you better.
(back to LOUD Muzak)

10:40

(2)
"We apologize for this delay. If you are calling for general information, or are interested in applying for retirement, disability, medicare, or spouse's benefits, you may want to visit our website www dot socialsecurity dot gov.
There you will find important information about benefits
and be able to apply from the comfort of your home or office."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

11:52

(3)
"We regret that you have waited so long. We are doing our best to answer your call. Social Security provides monthly benefits to more than 50 million people. As a result, we do have busy periods. We are taking calls in the order in which they came."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

13:14

(4)
Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience. We are still assisting other people, and will help you, as soon as we possibly can.

(back to LOUD Muzak)

14:28

(1)
"Thank you for holding. Someone will assist you shortly. Please remember to have handy your social security number, and any recent mail that we may have sent you. Having this information will help us serve you better.
(back to LOUD Muzak)

15:15

(2)
"We apologize for this delay. If you are calling for general information, or are interested in applying for retirement, disability, medicare, or spouse's benefits, you may want to visit our website www dot socialsecurity dot gov.
There you will find important information about benefits
and be able to apply from the comfort of your home or office."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

16:23

(3)
"We regret that you have waited so long. We are doing our best to answer your call. Social Security provides monthly benefits to more than 50 million people. As a result, we do have busy periods. We are taking calls in the order in which they came."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

17:14

(4)
Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience. We are still assisting other people, and will help you, as soon as we possibly can.

(back to LOUD Muzak)

19:00

(1)
"Thank you for holding. Someone will assist you shortly. Please remember to have handy your social security number, and any recent mail that we may have sent you. Having this information will help us serve you better.
(back to LOUD Muzak)

19:44

(2)
"We apologize for this delay. If you are calling for general information, or are interested in applying for retirement, disability, medicare, or spouse's benefits, you may want to visit our website www dot socialsecurity dot gov.
There you will find important information about benefits
and be able to apply from the comfort of your home or office."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

20:55

(3)
"We regret that you have waited so long. We are doing our best to answer your call. Social Security provides monthly benefits to more than 50 million people. As a result, we do have busy periods. We are taking calls in the order in which they came."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

21:18

(4)
Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience. We are still assisting other people, and will help you, as soon as we possibly can.

(back to LOUD Muzak)

23:32

(1)
"Thank you for holding. Someone will assist you shortly. Please remember to have handy your social security number, and any recent mail that we may have sent you. Having this information will help us serve you better.
(back to LOUD Muzak)

24:16

(2)
"We apologize for this delay. If you are calling for general information, or are interested in applying for retirement, disability, medicare, or spouse's benefits, you may want to visit our website www dot socialsecurity dot gov.
There you will find important information about benefits
and be able to apply from the comfort of your home or office."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

25:28

(3)
"We regret that you have waited so long. We are doing our best to answer your call. Social Security provides monthly benefits to more than 50 million people. As a result, we do have busy periods. We are taking calls in the order in which they came."

(back to LOUD Muzak)

26:50

(4)
Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience. We are still assisting other people, and will help you, as soon as we possibly can.

(back to LOUD Muzak)

28:04

(1)
"Thank you for holding. Someone will assist you shortly. Please remember to have handy your social security number, and any recent mail that we may have sent you. Having this information will help us serve you better.
(back to LOUD Muzak)

28:48

(phone ringing)
"Good afternoon. You have reached the My Social Security help desk. My name is Tim. How can I assist you?"

"Hi, Tim. Yeah, I have received a number of letters from you, saying that you are going to send checks, and yet none of the checks have ever arrived. Well, one did, it was supposed to be over $2,000 but was just $300.

OK. And, actually, you have reached the WRONG help desk. But I am going to patch you into an agent who can help you. One moment."

29:50

"Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received."

"Sorry, but it looks like we are currently experiencing technical difficulties. We regret any inconvenience this may cause. Please call us back at 800-772-1213. Thank you for calling the Social Security Administration. Good-bye."

30:28

AAHHHHHHHHHH!
WELCOME TO HE||!
AAHHHHHHHHHH!


A 30-minute wait, then I am tossed into the $hit can.

*Amounts slightly altered for privacy.

300 - 450

40

100


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Example Phone Call to
Local Office of SSA

April 9, 2014

.

Discussion

.
Time

-

169 Walnut Street, Santa Cruz, CA -
(831) 426-8111 (bad number, found in multiple locations on the Internet)

beep-beep-beep "We're sorry. You have reached a number that has been disconnected, or is no longer in service. If you feel that you have reached this recording in error, please check the number, and try your call again."

0:00

Tried 2nd number listed on Internet -
169 Walnut Street, Santa Cruz, CA -
1(800) 593-8523

(woman #1 voice) "Thank you for calling the Social Security Administration. If you are not calling from a touch-tone phone, please stay on the line. For service in English, press one, NOW.
(pressed one)

(woman # 2 voice) "Thank you for calling Social Security. If you need information on health insurance, press or say one, NOW."
"To continue with your call, press or say two, NOW.
To hear these options again, press or say nine."

"TWO", I said.

0:00

"Welcome to the ... Santa Cruz Social Security Office. To ensure that you receive accurate and courteous service, your call may be monitored or recorded."

"Press, or say one, now, if you know your party's extension. If you are not calling from a touch-tone phone, please stay on the line. If you want to file for retirement, disability or spouse's benefits, please remember that you have the choice of applying online. For more information about Social Security, including forms, and a complete list of online services, please visit us online, at www dot socialsecurity dot gov. National toll-free service is available by calling 1-800-772-1213. To hear field office hours and directions, press or say three, NOW.

0:43

"To better assist you, we have enhanced our field office telephone services. You can now request a statement benefits, or request a Medicare replacement card, through automated services. The process is quick and simple, and allows you to complete your request, without having to speak to a representative. To access our automated services, press or say four, NOW.

1:34

"To speak with the next available agent, press or say zero, NOW.
"To hear these options again, press or say nine.

"ZERO", I said.

1:58

"Please hold."
(ringing)

2:10

"Good Morning, Social Security."
"Yes, I've had a number of letters saying they are going to send me checks, and I never get the checks. So, I am not being successful at trying to retire."

2:20

"The checks were direct-deposited in your Bank."
etc., etc., etc.

Took a trip to My Bank to determine the status of my direct deposits. My bad. Everything had "crossed in the mail". All was fine.

*Amounts slightly altered for privacy.

300 - 450

40

100



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Vaughn's Other
INSURANCE-Related Pages

* AARP Offers

*
Cal Auto Insurance

*
Cal Health Insurance

*
Medicare Enrollment

*
Personal SS Payments

*
SS Payment Estimator

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Disclaimer
I have compiled my SSA retirement benefits interaction above, because I expected issues. They have not surprised me with efficient execution. I have had a pretty rocky start.
Others should be aware that their payments may not be as smooth as you are told. If you do not pay attention, you may lose out on benefits that you are entitled to.

Several things are clear.
NOT every SSA department talks to other SSA departments.
1. Beware of inconsistency and confusion. They don't sing from the same song sheet!
2. They use multiple computers that do NOT talk to each other.
3. The left hand does NOT know what the right hand is doing. There also appears to be a "third hand", which has no idea what the left and right hands are doing.
4. There should be a SINGLE database containing ALL the necessary information required. THERE OBVIOUSLY IS NOT, since everything depends upon the number you call, and the person that you speak with.
5. There is NO SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT, so you CANNOT expect consistency.

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This Vaughns SSA Retirement Benefit Payments
page was last updated on 2017-10-27.