Social Security Administration – Epic Fail!

Or . . . Thanks Department of Homeland Security for all the fun and games!

So, my driver’s license was up for renewal – I’ve not had to worry about it in quite a few years, but did I ever learn a lesson this year!

If you’ve renewed your license online in the past and haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting your local DMV, hang on to your hat.  Particularly if you’re a woman and have EVER changed your name.
So my little postcard came in the mail a couple months before my actual birthday, and aside from reading the requirements and filing it for future use, I really didn’t give it a lot of thought.  Fast forward to the week of my birthday.  I pulled out the card and re-read the requirements.

Government Issued Birth Certificate – check!
Social Security Card – check!
Marriage Certificate – check!
Proof of Residency – two types – check!

Okay, got my documents together, made an online appointment for Friday at a DMV about 40 minutes from my home as it was the earliest appointment I could get (b-day was on Sunday) and I was ready to go.  Or so I thought.

Friday afternoon arrived, as did I, at my local DMV  – I got there about 1/2 hour before my appointment.  Had to wait in line for 10 minutes before I got the reception desk to notify them of my appointment.  Receptionist asks for my documentation.  First doc, birth certificate.  Uh-oh.  This is a Certification of Birth, but it’s not a certified copy.   You must go to the Health Department to get a Certified Copy.  Okay, fine.  C-Ya.

About 10 miles round trip and 30 minutes later, certified copy in hand, I get back to the DMV, and again wait in line.  15 minutes later, I arrive at reception desk to be told that their computers have been down off and on all afternoon, so they’re not taking any new arrivals – so she made an appointment for me for Monday (thankfully at a location a little closer to home).

Monday morning arrives, and my biggest concern was the eye exam, LOL.  Passed the eye exam with no trouble, handed over my documents.  Whoa, hold on there – your Social Security Card doesn’t match your Driver’s license.  No, I patiently explain, it doesn’t.  You see, 20 years ago when I got married, I went into SSA, and they allowed me to drop my first name as I didn’t use it, so I became Kay (Maiden Name) (Married Name).  When I got to the DMV, though, to renew my license after the marriage, they said I couldn’t drop my first name so they used the Initial of the first name along with my Middle/Maiden/Married names.

Examiner looks at me like I’ve lost my mind.  I’m sorry, but I can’t issue you a license if your DL and SS names don’t match.  You’ll have to go to the Social Security Office to get them to correct that so that you can get your license.  And meantime, since your license is now expired, we’ll clip a corner off of it and staple it to a 60 day extension (8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper – yeah that fits in my wallet real nice).

So, still with all my documentation in hand, I make my way 25 miles across to the neighboring town to the SSA office.  Wait in line, again, but fortunately only takes about 15 minutes.  Get to the window where I explain to a very likely looking young man what the problem is.  He takes a quick look at my documents and says – oh, we can’t use a driver’s license that has been clipped, and you don’t have enough other documentation (keep in mind, I have in front of them my certified birth cert, marriage license, along with two utility bills, and another ID with my picture, name, and birthdate).  Young man assured me that I must have either

A) Insurance card with my name and birthdate on it (yeah, ‘cuz that’s so common these days due to the “identity theft” you’re trying to prevent)
B) Proof of identity in the form of a letter from my DOCTOR showing my birthdate, when I had an appointment with him in the last two years, and what my DIAGNOSIS was. (Excuse me, I said – and you need a diagnosis for what reason?  Sorry, but that really chaps my libertarian butt.)

I headed home that afternoon, almost in tears – frustrated beyond belief at the ridiculous request.  How in the heck is a doctor supposed to prove your identity, I mean, that’s really putting them in a position to ask them to provide that information upon request by the SSA!  But, I was so ready to have this done so that I could get back to the business of living my life, that I drove another 35 miles across the county to my doctor’s office.  I tried to call them on the way for a heads up, but the phone kept going to their answering service, even though they were open.

Arriving at the doctor’s office, I asked if they could provide me with what was requested by the SSA, and they told me they could not.  SSA did say that the Office Manager could sign for the doctor, but my doctor’s office was not willing to do that; the doctor was out.  On the one hand, I was upset and annoyed, but truly, I do not believe that this should be their problem.

Next stop, dentist office.  Seriously.  As a relatively healthy woman who hates to go to the doctor – they were my only other choice.   So I get a paper from them, with no real hope that it will be accepted, but I’ve got it in my hot little hands.  Except, you know, I decide that just maybe I need to take my butt over to a different SS office rather than dealing with the imbeciles at the former one.  I head across the county to another office, hold onto my file, and only give the documents that they ask for.  Whaddya know – they didn’t even blink – never asked for my “doctor’s slip”, accepted my clipped DL, and fixed my name on my social security card as requested!  One more stop at the DL office, and I’m done!  Woohoo!

Now, what is really funny about this entire post is that it took me a year and a half and a passport later to finish it.  I actually started writing it as I was going through the aggravation, and then got busy with life so I never completed it.  Just found it in my drafts, so thought I’d take a few minutes and finish it up.  A year later, I have family living in Grand Cayman and needed a passport to go for a visit – thankfully, due to the fun and games with SSA and the DL office, it was a pretty painless procedure.  Ironically, while I was in the midst of gathering articles to get my DL renewed, I was asked repeatedly in person and by those that I talked with on the phone if I had a passport ‘cuz that would make it so easy, LOL.  It’s just a vicious circle.  You’ve got to speak to someone with half a brain that they can understand that getting a passport is not easier if you are an adult without a valid DL and SS card – and as far as I had known for the past 20+ years, mine were valid until Homeland Security made their changes . . . nothing like harassing clearly native born citizens of the USA!

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