i don’t have pictures today—i was too busy with work and classes to take any. and i dunno if i am going to write about knitting at all today because i have something on my mind.
david’s dad, Big Dave (he is SO not big—he’s a rail!), has been ill for several months. he is around
70 years old, and has been a fairly heavy smoker all his life, so this is not surprising. we first became aware of it when he entered the hospital a couple of months back with pain in his arm. it took quite a while for the situation to be diagnosed and he underwent surgery. we don’t know exactly what was diagnosed or how ill he is, because he isn’t telling anyone (we think it must be cancer, but we really don’t know). now he is home and recuperating.
however, he has had to retire due to this illness; he has worked in a hardware store in his small town on long island for many, MANY years, walking back and forth several miles each day, to his job.
he, of course, did not receive benefits at his job—it was a small business and family-run—it was not the type of job to offer health benefits. he did, however, pay taxes and social security from his salary.
so, he was forced to retired because of his health, and applied for social security because the hospital social worker wanted to get him on medicare in order to have his bills paid. only guess what?
Big Dave is having a devil of a time getting approved.
well, he was born at home. he was born at home in south carolina during a time when most “non-white” people were barred from hospitals. therefore, his birth was never recorded and he does not have a birth certificate. he was also born during the depression, which compounded the difficulties of having a hospital birth with all the official paperwork. he HAS a social security number. his birth certificate is not missing—it just never existed.
though he attended school as a child for a few years, SERVED IN THE ARMED FORCES as a young man, and fathered three sons (including one who is 40 now), because he cannot proved the exact date of his birth (and therefore his age), he is being denied.
i find it extremely disturbing that someone can enter into service and hold an army record without a birth certificate, but suddenly be “off the grid” as far as the federal government is concerned, when it is their turn to give back. i mean, he is NOT asking for a handout—he is asking for what he invested in, both in service AND in cash, through his lifetime contributions to social security.
there are a number of government records in which Big Dave’s age was recorded, and apparently his word on it has always been perfectly acceptable when he was the one paying out. he HAS a social security number. his birth certificate is not missing—it just never existed.
surely he is not the first, or only person from his generation to have been born at home, unrecorded by city hall. i know my grandmother had her first child at home; it was common practice then. after all, many people were considered “non-white” in the 20s and 30s, and not admitted to hospitals on that basis. or, they were just too poor to pay a hospital for one of life’s most natural occurances—childbirth.
is it really possible that no system was put in place to deal with this situation as people born early in the century began to apply for social security in old age? that just seems too far-fetched to even consider.
now the social security administration is legendary in their wish to put applicants through the ringer, especially difficult cases. i know for a fact that lots of people are denied certain types benefits several times before they finally are approved—and that persistence is key when dealing with them. i imagine that difficult cases which might require some research will be annoying. and certainly there is a fear among government agencies of what they consider to be freeloaders.
but c’mon—the guy is 70 and still working up til a couple of months ago. and i haven’t heard of rampant abuse by people claiming to be lots older than they really are, have you? the guy is not underage by any stretch of the imagination.
so, what’s up with all this? has anyone else had to deal with this kind of thing and come up with a brilliant way to light a fire under the SSA, or otherwise beat them at their own game?
if you have, please pass it on to me!
back to knit chat tomorrow—i promise!