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social security : I deal in hope

I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Bio Bills, IRS and frustration

Ever dealt with the IRS, Social Security, or Medicare departments? We certainly have.

When my husband Keith retired, he had factors in his retirement that didn’t fit the stock-in-trade answers, forms or help from Social Security and Medicare. Going online was useless. Calling wasn’t much better. We needed to speak with a real live person. Like that was simple. Finding the right number was not easy. We’d call and get rerouted until we cycled back to the beginning. That worked well! (Heavy sarcasm.)

Find another number. “There is a high volume of calls. Please leave your phone number and we will return your call.” Or maybe not. Wait. Wait. Wait. Don’t start any big project. Wait. Wait. Wait. Call back. Is this a bad joke?

Try staying on the line. Forty-five to an hour or more later, and if you are not disconnected, someone might answer your call. I don’t know how many times we tried to contact the right agent to no avail. If we did get through, the agent didn’t have a clue how to deal with our particular need. “Call your local office,” we were told. For us in Kearney, that means Grand Island. I found a couple of numbers. Calling GI wasn’t any more available than the national office.

Time was running out. We got in the car and drove to GI early in the morning so we could be one of the first in line. Face-to-face, we did get help with our unusual situation. Certainly, didn’t want to deal with that again.

Several years later. When Keith’s dad died, we received an inheritance. We did have to make a payment, which we did, though it was a little late. That was last January. I have a printout of the canceled check. In September this year, we received two bills for interest. It wasn’t that much, but we each received a bill, though we file jointly. We had paid everything asked of us so why the bill? It made no sense. I wondered if it was some sort of scam. Our daughter checked and it was legitimate, but was it a mistake? Were they charging interest on money already paid in full?

We needed to contact the IRS for answers. I checked the website. Less than no help. I called. “High volume. Please call back tomorrow.”

I gritted my teeth. Where could I go for answers? Oh, but we had a meeting with our financial advisor scheduled. I brought him the documents. He looked things over and first said they sent each of us a bill for interest, but there was only one charge. He suggested sending back both bills with one check—especially since only Keith’s social security number was on both. He explained what might have happened.

It doesn’t answer why we were charged some of that interest AFTER the check went through. I followed our advisor’s suggestions, but I added a synopsis of the amended return and a copy of the processed check along with a note. Now we wait and hope we never hear about this again. If not—I might have to try and make another call. I do wonder why we have to fund such an inefficient government when so much of our taxes are spent on things that do not benefit the hard-working citizens who have to pay for this government’s out-of-control spending.

Time to vote in those who don’t just talk, but actually start budgeting and spending money wisely.

© 2022 Carolyn R Scheidies

Kearney Hub column published 10/22/2022

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