WorkingBoomer Tries To Collect Social Security Benefits

This is probably old hat to some of you but I just need to share my experience that I had this morning.  Since I turned 62 yrs. old a week or so ago, I thought I had better pay a visit to my local social security office to ask a few questions.  Now I had researched most of my questions and had answers but wanted to sit down with a nice, understanding Social security person to make sure that I had my information correct.

Luckily the social security office was just a few blocks from me so I figured this would not take long for my only day off from work.  First I checked my purse to make sure that my s.s. card was there.  You guessed it.  Missing it was.  After a good half hour of searching with my heart pumping and face sweating I found it in another purse.  Down the road I went.

The building was very nice and I entered the door.  Right there sat a security guard ready to assist me.  He wanted to know why I was there and did I have an appointment.  I looked around the room which was full and said, “No, I don’t have an appointment so I am willing to make one and come back when it is less busy.”  His reply, “This is less busy and even if you make an appointment you would still have to take a number and wait.”  Now let me ask you folks, “Does this make good sense?”  So I explained why I was there and decided to wait.

Now the Dude said he needed to check my purse for gun, knives and etc. so I handed him my fanny pack and let him rumble around in my stuff.  He then handed me a number and told me to write my s.s. # on the small piece of paper. After that he let me know that I had some white stuff on my face near my ear and that I might want to go to the ladies room to get it off. Now this was a little embarrassing and it turned out to be just a little bit of dry soap.  I sure was glad that the ladies room was close by.  Then he told me to have a seat. There was one seat left which was on the front row right in front of the large overhead movie screen and the s.s. information pamphlets.  Now I noticed that all the info. on the walls, the screen and pamphlets also came in Spanish.  I thought that was nice but I didn’t see any Spanish speaking folks in there.

I decided that I would read some of the pamphlets while I waited.  Most of the information I knew about from looking it up on the computer.  Then I saw the one question that I was not sure about. The answer still was not clear to me so I book marked that page so I would be ready when my name was called.

Number 21, number 21, I heard.  “That’s me!” I thought.  Up to the window I went to meet a nice friendly looking Spanish fella that I thought was going to let me into the back to an office.  With my rear end hanging out his cube type window, I had to lean in to hear him speak.  Again he asked me the same question as the guard.  I explained again that I just wanted to sit down and review a few questions with them.  Now it did not appear that I was going into the back area nor was I going to be sitting down.

He then wanted my mother’s maiden name, my birthday, my father’s full name, and an ID to verify that I was me.  I was a bit surprised that he didn’t want my s.s. card.  Now for the question asking.  I let him know my salary and asked if I took s.s. early how would the taxes be calculated.  He assured me there would be no taxes.  So I knew right then and there that this trip was going to go no where.  I opened the pamphlet and showed him the paragraph that states how much taxes would have to be paid if a person makes over the $14,500 per yr. amt.  I just wanted an estimated dollar amt.  He took the pamphlet and read it then he said excuse me I will be back and left.

There I stood still at the window like a fool and the room was becoming more and more packed.  The guard was behind me still checking for knives, guns and etc.  Finally my man returned with some GREAT INFORMATION.  He said I was right and I would need to check that all out with my tax man.  Now I was still determined to get in that back room and sit down with someone.  You guessed it.  I failed again.  The guy told me when I was ready to file just come back, make an appointment and fill out the papers.

Needless to say, I went out to my car and started laughing.  I am grateful for my sense of humor.  So to sum this up for you folks I will list a few things here for you to do when visiting the Social Security office to check on or apply for your benefits:

  1. Do not bother going at all if you are computer smart and have a printer.
  2. Forget the question asking, just read while sitting in a comfortable seat at your house.
  3. Ask your tax man the questions that you need to know if you are still employed.  Don’t bother those folks at the social security office.
  4. Only and again I say only, when you are ready to retire and draw, then get down to the paper filling out and visit them if you want.  Maybe you will get a nice seat in the back. Then you might  get passed security and the front desk guy.
  5. If you are a man leave your pocket knife at home.  Now I think we all know not to take any guns.
  6. Ladies make sure that you do not have articles in your purse that you don’t want the guards hands all over.
  7. Take a second look at your face before leaving the house to make sure it is nice and clean.
  8. If you wear glasses take them with you because most of the answers to any questions are in the pamphlets and you will definitely have plenty of TIME to read even if you made an appointment.
  9. The waiting room chairs are very close together so try to get an end seat if at all possible.
  10. Since I heard one guy tell his wife that he had not taken his anxiety medicine that morning, I will remind you to take your blood pressure meds, anxiety meds, and happy pills before leaving your house.
  11. Read up first – Understanding Social Security

All in all just forget the entire thing until you know that you are absolutely ready to retire.  Save all the money that you can before then.  After all who knows where social security will be when you are actually ready.  Then if there is someone else that has already endured this experience, ask for advice before making a trip to the social security office.

Originally posted 2011-01-05 18:27:14.

Author: Robert Fowler

Robert Fowler is President of Retirement Media Inc. Check out Robert's blog at

Comments are closed.