Just in case the Social Security debacle weren’t already complicated enough…
Shut up and take my money
As you may recall, the SSA erroneously paid us $8,499. Alas, it was direct deposited into our bank account, so there wasn’t even an option to refuse the funds.
I was sure we’d have to go back and forth with the SSA to get it figured out, but happily about a week later we got an “Oops, our bad; now give us our money!” letter in the mail.
About 10 days later I sent off a check to rectify the situation.
Three weeks after that, my check still uncashed, we got a letter saying that the SSA would be withholding Tim’s payments for 10 months until the funds had been repaid.
It’s not that I care whether we get the payments. I mean, we already have the money. I could plop it into the interest-bearing savings account until this SSA appeal is resolved.
But what if the SSA still cashed the check? Then I’d be looking at a bounced check fee — or would have to keep more than $8,000 in our secondary checking. Which would make things difficult each time I had to allocate money at the beginning of the month.
So that wasn’t going to work for me.
I got on the phone and found out I had two options:
- Appeal the collection of Tim’s benefits, which would require yet more paperwork and, my luck, an appointment at the local office. And still might not resolve the outstanding check issue.
- Put a stop payment on the check. This means that the SSA may still try to cash the check (assuming it’s not lost in the postal service or government bureaucracy ether). But when the check is denied, the organization will check his account as the next step. It’ll then see that he’s already in collections and let the matter lie.
So now I know that Chase charges $25 to stop payment on a check.
I just can’t even
Yes, this will increase this year’s taxes; but we’d have paid that money anyway — just a little later. And it means the one payment we’ll get next year won’t be taxable at all. So technically we’re saving around $110 on our 2017 taxes.
Thankfully, we’re itemizing this year, so things should basically even out. I think.
I just can’t take any more damn paperwork, let alone more back and forth with the government. It’s soul crushing, even without the 40ish minutes you spend on hold waiting to talk to an employee.
Government hassle for everyone!
Besides, I still have to deal with the SSA for my own needs. I got a heart-attack-inducing letter saying that my Medicare would end in January. Reading a little further, it says I can keep the coverage (since my disability is ongoing) as long as I start paying for Part A.
Up til now, it’s been covered by the government. Now I’ll pay either $226 or $411 a month (depending on whether I have enough work credits). And also the Part B I already get billed for. This at least triples my monthly premiums; but it’s still a damn sight better than anything else I could get in the marketplace. And there’s no deductible. One of the few benefits of chronic illness.
A $300 bill
And speaking of heart-stopping letters, we got a note from Tim’s insurance that $300 worth of services (plus a $125 chest x-ray) wouldn’t be covered. Allegedly, we didn’t get authorization, but I knew I called his doctor.
Short form: It’s not a normal referral for this specialty (pulmonology) but instead requires authorization. That can take up to two weeks, and we called it in about four days beforehand. This means that the office apparently didn’t get it before Tim’s appointment, so the specialist wasn’t officially covered.
The practice is owning up to the mistake. Apparently, it’s their policy not to see a patient until authorization has come through. Since he was seen and thus had a reasonable expectation of coverage, the bill is being written off.
Phew! Because before that I was just chanting over and over in my head “At least we’re itemizing this year. It’s deductible. At least we’re itemizing this year. It’s deductible!”
What tasks have you been knocking off the to-do list lately?