Everything is fine now.
As soon as I arrived home last week, I went straight to SS and tried to sort out my File-and-Suspend. I explained my situation to a very helpful young man who advised me that I could re-pay on the spot the SS already paid. He gave me a number. I ran home and got a check but when I returned I had to deal with a young lady who basically told me that he was wrong, I could not do it that way, to go home and wait for SS to mail me the value. Now I had two contradictory definitive answers from two highly trained, highly qualified SS officials. Dispair.
That mail wold come--when? (You may recall that we live and work outside the country for more than 8 months of the year.) And by the time I could send a check, SS would have already send me several more. A moving target.
I went home for lunch and there was a phone message waiting from the young man to come right back. I did so. I gave him the check and it was entered immediately. He apologized for the less than accurate unhelpful response I got, as he had it all set up before he went to lunch.
Tuesday, we had an appointment and went down and set up DW's spousal benefit. Very smooth. My F&S was verified as was my repayment
so DW's spousal benefits will be paid back to October.
By the way, as far as I know, my paperwork delivered to the US Embassy in October never got to SS. It had no effect.
All this reminds me of something a supervisor said to me long ago. His wife was contracted to work for the city as an attorney. After many years, he observed that we would all be better off if they fired half the city workers--and he said it wouldn't matter which half, the good ones or the bad ones.
I have no opinion on this. I have usually been able to get what I need out of bureaucracies. It takes a lot of politeness and dogged persistence.
I am remembering Kafka's, "The Castle". The protagonist was an engineer who was trying to get paid for his work. Eventually the bureaucracy got tired of his efforts and had him blown up.