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Meeting with a Social Security Admin Office
Old 02-07-2013, 12:56 PM   #1
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Meeting with a Social Security Admin Office

I'm helping my sister and going to drive to her meet with someone at a Social Security Office. (I know, bring a book...).

My question is more about how to get the proper person to talk to. Of course, their phone lines have a long hold. In her situation, she was living in one county but since has moved to another county. She got a letter saying to meet with so-and-so from the county she was in. So when I meet with someone, is it better to meet with at the old county she was in, or new county where she lives now.

I'm trying to avoid going to one place, wait all day, and then have social security say, don't come here..you need to go to the other place.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:04 PM   #2
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SS is a national program so I wouldn't think it would matter what county office she uses.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:21 PM   #3
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I don't think it's a problem.
SS has a lot of local offices, but you can go to any one you like. Just pick an office, a day, and a time of day when they are likely to be less crowded. I had to go to a local office a few years ago in a semi-rural area and was very pleasantly surprised at their efficiency. When I walked in, there were about 40 people ahead of me, but I was out of there in under an hour.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:34 PM   #4
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Two things.

First, when you phone SS, you get to talk to people at a national call center. My experience, and the opinion of "my" local-office SS people, is that the national call center reps often don't know what they are talking about.

I've been to my local SS office 3 times over the past several months (once for medicare, twice for ss) and never have I had to wait more than 10 minutes to talk to a rep.

Depending on what you have going on, it may matter what office you go to. That's because, based on my conversations with these local-office SS people, I believe that review and decisions on applications are made at the local level by the local SS people. So, if there's something going on that involves your sister's file, application and information, you are probably best served to go to the office where the original application review and decisions were made.

Having said that, I would assume (or at least hope) that if you enter a change of address for your sister, that the file would be "moved" (I know, it's an electronic file) to be under the jurisdiction of the office covering your sister's new address.

I hope that helps, rather than confuse.

Cheers...

Alex in Virginia
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions. I've decided to make the extra miles and go to the place where she was from. There are some things that need evaluating. Plus, I think that office is less busy too.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:38 PM   #6
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I have visited a few local Social Security offices and from my experiences, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Everyone I have dealt with has been very knowledgeable and very efficient.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:51 PM   #7
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I had to go to a local office a few years ago in a semi-rural area and was very pleasantly surprised at their efficiency. When I walked in, there were about 40 people ahead of me, but I was out of there in under an hour.
Good point about picking the right office. I was going fairly often a few years ago, trying to work out a problem with my SS 1099. The office closest to me is total urban, and I only went once. It was full of SSI types, many of whom appeared to be actively hallucinating, talking to themselves, physically flinching, etc. After that I drove out to a suburb and the atmosphere seemed much less alarming.

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:04 PM   #8
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I ended up having to go to both offices. First, in the county where my sister moved from. Then later at the office she now resides. When going into the SS Office, the first this to do is check in. So when we were about the check in a person working the ticket meter asks, "Can I help you?" I say, "Yes, my sister has the letter saying she needs to come in." and he quickly goes "Why didn't you go to the other office?" After explaining that we did and got the address changed and she now resides in this county, things went okay.

But overall, the folks at the office where polite and helpful.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:34 PM   #9
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When I visited my local SS office I was the only Senior, everyone else was 20 something with babies. They took me first.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:38 PM   #10
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When I visited my local SS office I was the only Senior, everyone else was 20 something with babies. They took me first.
Same thing happened to me, and I thought I was at the wrong place. But I didn't get taken first as I had to take a number. It sure was an eye opener.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:46 PM   #11
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When I visited my local SS office I was the only Senior, everyone else was 20 something with babies. They took me first.
I had that plus a few people claiming to hear voices.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:01 PM   #12
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Have had good luck online, and our local office has a receptionist who acts as a triage person, to avoid long waits or wrong line. I am pleased with the system and have not had a bad experience in the past 30 years.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:19 AM   #13
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We have always done everything online. However, when I made the change to get spousal benefit on my DW's account (while letting my account grow), a representative from the local office called me to confirm what I wanted. She also gave me the impression that she had the power to hold or release my request. As soon as she was satisfied that I understood what I was getting, she "released" the request for processing. Or at least I think that's what she did.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:36 AM   #14
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The one time I went to discuss SS benefits, i made and appointment and they met with me right on time. Once had to go and get a replacement SS card for DS16 with no appointment only waited 20 minutes even though half the chairs were full in the waiting area. Overall positive experience.

When DW applied for disability we went on line and applied. Other interactions were by phone. Approved in 3 months. This was in 2009. They declared her disabled as of 2004 but could only pay 24 months back payments. Stupid me for not applying sooner.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:35 AM   #15
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I've gone to the Hyannis office. No complaints. The staff have been helpful and easy to deal with.

When I went there to put in for my SS at age 66 I came prepared with both documentation and easy to read notes. Reason; I knew they'd calculated my substantial earnings a year short. My four years of service included a year where I earned less than $1,200 dollars, unless you added the $300 per quarter as stated in the SS regs. Once I pointed out the proper info to the intake person they corrected the data.

In addition I had my wife with me. The intake person explained that she was entitled to a larger amount then we realized and fixed that issue as well. It was a good meeting all around!

Rich
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:02 PM   #16
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When I visited my local SS office I was the only Senior, everyone else was 20 something with babies. They took me first.
I went with DW to our local SS office (with an appointment set up) this past Friday to start her FRA SS. Because her application was complicated by WEP and our local office is only a couple miles away, we decided not to go through the process on line.

We too were startled to be the only geezers in sight. Also, because our office is in a town where the majority of residents are Hispanic, most of the signage was in Spanish and we had to look around to find appropriate clues in English. But we did eventually come across the required information and it was no issue.

The representive who saw us seemed very well informed, confirmed all my understandings about WEP and GPO and even answered my questions about who all the young folks in the waiting room were. She said it is very rare for her to have appointments with "old folks" with straight forward applications for SS as so many are done on line these days. Her days are spent primarily with younger folks looking for non-retirement benefits or to get a SS card under unusual circumstances.


All in all, while I question some SS policies, it wasn't a bad experience. BTW, thanks to WEP, DW's FRA SS turned out to be a whopping $87/mo. Woooo....hoooo! We gona party now!
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:50 PM   #17
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I've only been to the SS office to change my name when I got married. Had to present proof of marriage, etc. Had to be done in person (at the time).
I would imagine that's a pretty common activity at the office - and not one that is likely to skew to the senior crowd.

I need to go in - my employer, in one of the many mergers/split ups/acquisitions, failed to report income after a corporate name change for a part of the year. They fixed about half the employees records w/ the SS office... but not mine. It's been on my "to do" list since 1998. I have the tax records/paystubs to prove they missed about $30k of income that year. Just need to go do it. Maybe when I early retire I'll have time to straighten that out.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:13 PM   #18
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I went with DW to our local SS office (with an appointment set up) this past Friday to start her FRA SS. Because her application was complicated by WEP and our local office is only a couple miles away, we decided not to go through the process on line.

We too were startled to be the only geezers in sight. Also, because our office is in a town where the majority of residents are Hispanic, most of the signage was in Spanish and we had to look around to find appropriate clues in English. But we did eventually come across the required information and it was no issue.

The representive who saw us seemed very well informed, confirmed all my understandings about WEP and GPO and even answered my questions about who all the young folks in the waiting room were. She said it is very rare for her to have appointments with "old folks" with straight forward applications for SS as so many are done on line these days. Her days are spent primarily with younger folks looking for non-retirement benefits or to get a SS card under unusual circumstances.


All in all, while I question some SS policies, it wasn't a bad experience. BTW, thanks to WEP, DW's FRA SS turned out to be a whopping $87/mo. Woooo....hoooo! We gona party now!
I would have done the application online, however, I had to bring my discharge papers (DD214) to qualify for a military benefit adjustment.
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