I need to go to the Social Security office. I have some questions, and options I might be able to exercise, but I can't get any information online because I haven't worked in ten years (actually more, but 10 is their cutoff). Duh?
I am currently drawing benefits on Jay's SS account as his widow. I'm wondering if my own SS account might pay me more. And can I draw on Ex#2's account instead? I know I can if he's dead, but what if he's not dead, just looks that way? (Ex#1 is dead, but we weren't married long enough for me to qualify.) And if either of those, mine or Ex#2's, will pay more, how do I switch, and how do we make sure Medicare switches, too?
Anyway, the online site said I have to go to the local office if I want details about my account(s). No appointment necessary.
So on Monday I went to the SS office in Iselin. I got there about 2:45, met a maintenance guy in the lobby who told me that there was no point in going upstairs, because the SS office closed at 3. Open 9 to 3. (Hmmmm. Good hours, good pay, good benefits - I think I made the wrong choice all those years ago. Well, maybe they have 2 hours of paperwork after 3.)
So yesterday I tried again. I got there about mid-morning. Got off the elevator and found people sitting on the floor in the hall. Bad sign. I went to the doors at the end of the hall and found a waiting room about the size of my house footprint, and that room was packed solid. There was a machine where you put in your info and I guess it issues you a number. There was a security guy standing a few feet away, so I asked him if it was possible to make an appointment, and he said I should call the 800 number to make an appointment, and he gave me a card with the number on it. "The card is all in Spanish, but the number is the same." I said, "Yeah, in numbers we all speak Arabic." He blinked twice, then laughed.
All those people in the waiting room, by the way, were Hispanic.
I'd been to a Social Security office only twice before, both times the office nearest to the country house, and back then there were only one or two people before me in line. When I mentioned that to Daughter, and that the people at Iselin all seemed to be Hispanic, she rolled her eyes and said, "Welcome to New Jersey."
So, two half-days wasted. Sigh.
I have a lot of things I have to do this week, and none of it is getting done. A lot of it is online stuff, bills to pay, letters to write and get printed, and something has been screwy with my laptop - seems to involve java scripts and/or the Adobe flash player that don't complete and don't clean up after themselves. My browser gets slower and slower and slower then finally hangs. I have to run CCleaner to get rid of a lot of orphan files and unconnected stuff in the registry (CCleaner is terrific, and it's free!), then it's briefly fine, and then it slows down again. I've been freaking out over it. I've been reIPLing and starting over like every three hours.
What's REALLY weird is that it seems to happen only during "working" hours. After 6 pm the browser seems to straighten up and fly right. I did check, I timed it, and it's not my internet connection slowing down, and it's unlikely to be a virus - I've got protection on here like you wouldn't believe. The protection itself slows things down, but I'm willing to accept that.
I've also noticed that it seems to have some kind of cycle. It'll be fine for a few weeks, then I'll have a week or two of pain, then it's fine again. I suspect it may be that I have auto-updating for the operating system and all the other stuff, so components go in and out of phase compatibility-wise.
But mostly, I don't understand.
I just had a thought. Maybe today there were only three people ahead of me at the Social Security office - maybe all those other people were just family members and friends who came along for moral support.