Skip to main content

Calling the Social Security Administration

Lead Summary
By
-
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist


This is approximately accurate.

(Computer Voice): “Thank you for calling the Social Security Administration. If you (unintelligible to me), press 1. We have received reports of scam phone calls, if you think you have received a scam call, let us know. How can I help you today?”

(My raspy voice): “I want to talk to someone about Medicare Part D.”

(Computer Voice): “We don’t offer pedicures. If you think we should offer pedicures, hang up and dial 800-555-1287. Unless you have a hangnail, then you should visit your local Social Security office and file a disability claim. That is if you are between ages 37 and 65. Otherwise, call 800-555-6781.”

(As clear as I can say it and louder): “I want to talk to someone about Medicare Part D.”

(Computer Voice): “Social Security does not offer retirement parties. We do offer a death benefit of $255. That could possibly be used by your survivors towards a party.”

(Me): “Well, while you are at it can you tell me why the death benefit is only $255?”

(Computer Voice): “It was established in 1937 and was never indexed for inflation. In 1937 and until 1952, the $255 amount was greater than three times the maximum monthly benefit.”

(Me, silently thinking): Thanks for pointing out in one succinct phrase how incompetent the federal government is – the last time I priced a funeral, it was over $10,000. Hmm. Maybe the computer understands me now.

(Me): “Could you connect me to someone who knows something about Medicare Part D?”

(Computer): “What do you want to know?”

(Me): “How to apply for Medicare Part D.”

(Computer): “Apples are not a part of Medicare Part D.”

(Me): “I just want to know how to fill out the forms for Medicare Part D.”

(Computer): “We will send you an instruction packet. It contains 47 pages plus one page for the Paperwork Reduction Act.”

(Me): “Will I be able to fill it out online once I get the package?”

(Computer): “Oh yes!”

(Me): “When can I get the package?”

(Computer): “What is your ZIP code?”
(Me) “30096.”

(Computer): “ZIP codes don’t contain words like ‘tree” nor do they contain phrases like ‘mine’s sick.’ Please state your ZIP code.”

(Me): “30096.”

(Computer): “I told you that won’t work. Why don’t you move to 10001 and call me back? I can understand that.”

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.

Add new comment

This is not for publication.
This is not for publication.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it. Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.