If you've not yet read "Part 1", it's here...
Uh, yeah. It wasn't over...
This morning, 8 hours after I posted Part 1, I went to MyMedicare.gov to sign up for an on-line account. They won't let me.
They say they can't match the information I gave them. That's probably because they require a five-digit zip code and mine is six, FFS! Yes, I tried using only the first five—no joy. I also tried 00000 because when I called Medicare to get help, they said they don't have a zip code for me, though they do have the rest of my address.
That didn't work, either.
Now I'm on hold waiting to talk with someone at Social Security. Five minutes after they told me the wait would be "one hour and a half" on hold, the computer said, "We regret you've waited so long..." LMAO
Thinking about the fact that Social Security writes "over 50 million" benefit checks every month to retirees, severely disabled, and others, I'm wondering how many people die each day while waiting on hold to talk with them.
For those who survive, how much productivity is lost while untold hundreds wait 90 minutes to talk to someone who may not even be able to help them? In previous calls, I've been asked if I want someone to call me back when it's my turn. That would allow me to do a bit more sandblasting or pack for my upcoming trip or take a shower. No such courtesy this time.
29 minutes down, 61 to go... give-or-take.
After 1 hour, 31 minutes, 16 seconds, my call was FINALLY picked up. And the person on the other end of the line COULDN'T FUCKING HEAR ME EVEN THOUGH I WAS YELLING after the third time she said she couldn't hear me. The computer at the beginning could hear me just fine, so WTF? It was probably due to my call being via Skype; unfortunately the best way I've found to call outside of Vietnam.
The pain and frustration of this was apparently insufficient, because I called back immediately, jumped through all of the pre-qualifying hoops, and was told my "estimated wait time is 35 minutes." Could be worse, right?
So... the agent could hear me this time and added my proper postal code. The number they were using was the "Consular Code" 962 that identifies me as closest to the Consulate in Saigon. As if that's going to help Vietnam Post find me!
In 24-48 hours, the MyMedicare site should have the changed data and let me register.
Now the bad news... until I turn 66, Social Security claws back $1 for every $2 I make over $17,040 in addition to SSI AND I still get to pay taxes on both the SSI and other incomes. What a crock of shit! How do they expect people to "live" just on SSI? Thank you Congress, you privileged assholes who have no fucking clue what it's like to survive in the real world. Example: The wife of soon to be ex-Senator Ted Cruz (Vampire—Texas) works for Goldman-Sachs (the firm that's directly responsible for EVERY economic crash for over 100 years) and pulls down about $500,000 per annum PLUS bonuses. Ted, the most hated-by-his-peers man in Congress, makes $174,000. She recently complained that at over $700,000 a year they can't afford to buy a second home anytime soon. Boo-fucking-hoo.
What's that say for those of us who make less than $35,000 a year? Note that Vampire Ted and his wife only pay FICA on about 17% of their income, while the rest of us pay it on 100% of our income. They're also at the forefront of the attempts by the Radical Right to either get rid of or privatize Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.
QUIT CALLING THESE PROGRAMS "entitlements"! I paid into them for over 45 years and it'll be at least 6 years before I get back the money I lent the government. They are INSURANCE programs. Either learn how insurance works or STFU.
Even living in Vietnam, without SSI checks every month, I'd be hurtin' for certain.
Oh, yeah. I'm also paying for Medicare every month, just like everyone else who is covered.