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Friday, March 21, 2008

Today's Rant - Social Security

My mom is still in the hospital. She is still here-eight weeks tomorrow, and won't ever go home. She has but a few weeks left, two months at best. Mom isn't a fighter and now that the prognosis has had a few days to sink in, is more worried about my dad than anything.

I know that the people who visit my place here wish her well and will offer your prayers and for that I thank you. Please offer them for my dad.

My dad has retired three times. He isn't eating cat food, but they aren't buying a retirement home in the Keys either. While here talking to dad about arrangements and finances. My mom is 10 years younger than my dad and was still working in the administration building of this very hospital when she got ill.

So I clicked over to SSA.gov yesterday to find out a few things. I knew most of it, and was basically checking on the process for applying for SS Disability. Mom obviously won't be back at work with only a short time left among us, but it takes FIVE MONTHS best case to get a check.

Mom worked her entire life and at times she worked two jobs. She never cheated or stole anything in her life. She once went two years without a winter coat so that her three sons could get them. She and dad both worked two jobs during the Carter years to keep food on the table.

She and dad raised three sons, two of which went on to become Marines, combat vets, and fathers. The other is a great dad who was working on his Ph.D at Vanderbilt University when his second son was born and stopped to be a dad.

When she passes on, do you realize that every dime she contributed to Medicare and SS will disappear? Dad won't get a penny of it despite the fact that it was money that they could have used over the years.

At sometime in the 1960s my dad had an opportunity to buy McDonalds stock for 25 cents per share. A Marine Gunnery Sergeant in those days probably made $300 a month. He didn't buy any because he didn't think anyone would sink their hard earned money into stock for a "hamburger joint." Of course he kicks himself now...

What if I had a couple of hundred extra bucks a month to invest? What if my dad could have spared some money over the years in stocks? A $5,000 investment in Walmart in the late 70s would have paid more than $15 million in 2004. Then there would be a beneficiary for the money, and not the government.

I am furious about this fact. I. Am furious that partly due to government policy, I have to divide my time between spending time with my mom and worrying about my dad.

Unintended consequences. Those who are the most responsible and work the longest contribute the most and get the least.

13 Posts From Readers:

rockync said...

I am so very sorry for your family in this difficult circumstance. And I so understand your anger and sadness at the mechinations of the SS system.
First, know that all of you will be in my thoughts and prayers, especially your Dad for which this time must be a torture.
My husband and I faced similar circumstances 20 years ago as my father in law became progressively ill with heart trouble. My mother in law was a sweet, loving person who was totally devoted to family. It was hard to watch Dad's health decline and Mom having so much trouble accepting what we all knew was coming. Dad had been on disability for years and Mom worked part time to make ends meet. Dad died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving my mother in law devastated. I honestly didn't know if she'd survive the loss. But she did and as my husband is an only child, it was up to he and I to help her through all the legalities of death; arranging a funeral, cancelling policies and dealing with Social Security. It took them 6 months to process Mom's new status and determine her new benefits. During that time, they continued direct depositing the monthly checks. I even called several times, asking if these deposits were correct, explaining over and over about Dad's death. Each time being assured it was her money.
A year later, just as she was getting a handle on her grief and beginning to smile again, SS sent a letter staing she was overpaid those six months and had to pay back a large amount of money. We made calls, consulted a lawyer and discovered we had no recourse; she had to pay back the money. It was more money than we could come up with since we were raising four boys at the time so Mom had to take a loan. We helped her pay it back, but what a horrible blow.
Today, Mom is in her 80's and going strong. She has few health problems to plague her and a little dog to keep her company. She lives in a small house on my property so she has her independence but is close by which helps. She is retired and she manages but she drives an old car and we pay her heating fuel and electric bills so she can do a few things like visit her sisters every few years or go to lunch with the "girls."
Their generation I think is the last one to believe that SS would meet their needs. Me, I figure I'll be working until I drop. Retirement just doesn't look like a real option for me.

Kazilar said...

See here or here

Obob said...

socsec is a disaster and it won't get fixed. It is the third rail for a reason and shameful democrats are to blame for the future. GW did offer a solution. It was shot down for political points. I'm in my late 30s looking foward to teaching until I drop dead at 80 something.
Most of all, my prayers for your family for your mother and family.

Fu Manchu Dad said...

First and foremost, allow me to offer up my prayers for your parents. May God bless and keep them both along their respective journeys. Like OBOB I can't imagine how SS is going to survive long enough for me to see it. I can only hope there is some recourse left for my disabled son. We have applied for his benefits, (he's 3) and will have to wait for 6 months for any kind of answer. Based on the future of SS, our only hope will be to stick whatever he gets in a savings account for him. I'll likely never see a dime of my own SS and I too will probably retire to a dirtnap. I pray I live long enough for my wife to get the kids out of the house so she can afford to live without me. It is indeed, a sad state of affairs for a program with such lofty goals.

FMD

The Beltway B@stard said...

Thoughts out to your mother Robert.

Social Security - The Dems always want to borrow from it, and the Reps want to do away with it. If they would all just leave it alone, it may actually work the way it's supposed to.

Americaneocon said...

Well, I hope things work out with your folks and that all is well.

SS is an unfair system in many ways, but I teach this stuff, and polls find a majority of Americans wants to preserve the system, since the private market is also unfair at times.

Hope you had a good Easter, considering.

American Interests.blog said...

I too am sorry to here your challenging circumstances at present.

Present legislation in relation to Social Security allowances are much the same in Australia. Those who contribute the most will get the least both during there working lives and in retirement. It’s a mind set over here, those that think, "its what the country can do for me" verses those that think, "what can I do for the country". Over the course of one’s life, it is the latter that is least recognized and rewarded by Government, go figure.

God bless you all…

WomanHonorThyself said...

will keep her in my prayers Robert.:)

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