Friday, September 28, 2007


I have been having a one sided conversation with Social Security for a few months now about the fact that I have moved and therefore I have a new address. This has mostly consisted of me trying web, phone and letter to get them to understand the concept and them stolidly ignoring me. Finally a few days ago I got several letters telling me that they think they've heard I might have a new address and if this is true then would I please call the following number to confirm? Excellent, thinks I, progress!

Chirpy Automated Social Security System: Hello! thank you for calling Social Security! Para Espanol.... click.... whirr..... please state your reason for calling.... now.

Me: Change. Of. Address

CASSS: I think you said you would like to find the address of your nearest Social Security office. Is that right?

Me: No.

CASSS: I'm sorry! Please state your reason for calling.... now.

Me: Con-firm... chaaaange ... uuuuv .... aaaadressss...

CASSS: I see! To change your address you need to be already receiving, or have already applied for benefits... [very, very long following explanation about people who are not in this position and why trying to do an address here won't work and how there's a shiny website with pretty buttons that might entertain you if you're bored]. Are you currently receiving or have you already applied for benefits?

Me: Y-

CASSS: Yes or no?

Me: Yes

CASSS: To confirm your identity, I will need to ask a number of questions. These are the same questions an agent would ask you so it will save you time if you answer these questions now. [insert about five lengthy questions] Please state your first name, then spell it

Me: Fuh-

CASSS: For example, if your first name is Mary, you would say, "Mary! Em Ay Arrrrh Why"

Me: FirstName. Eff...

CASSS: Let me confirm that... Now, state your last name and then spell it.

Me: MyVeryLongLastName. Emm Why....

CASSS: I think you said, "Meyvurrrahlug, Emm eeee veee uuuu rrrrr...." is this correct?

Me: No...

CASSS: I'm sorry! Let me try again. Please state your last name, and then spell it quickly.

Me: MyVeryLongLastName! Em!Wy!Vee!Eee....

CASSS: I think I've got it now! Myvurreeelag. Is that right?

Me: NO!

Repeat last few steps another two times until finally I answer:

Me: I guess?

CASSS: Great! Now I'll just ask five more personal and pointless questions....

Me: Do you mind if I answer in a variety of silly voices?

CASSS: Click.... whirr.... I'm sorry! The information you have provided does not match the file on record.

Me: Is that because you haven't yet figured out MyVeryLongLastName?

CASSS: If you would like to try again, say main menu! If you would like to hang up, say Goodbye! If you would like to speak to an agent -

Me: Agent! Agent!

CASSS: To speak to an agent I will need to ask several questions, these questions are the same that the agent would need to ask to verify your identity, so it will save you time to answer them now. Please state your first name...

Fortunately this system after two tries at both first and last name (I was gritting my teeth by this point and some of the letters might have come out a leeeetle muffled) says happily "I'm sorry, I don't seem to understand you. Let's skip that step."

I then get sent to the CASSS waiting section which seems to think all Social Security recipients have the attention span of Child 3 because every 3 seconds one of several voices comes on:

Voice 1: (female, cheerful, slightly patronizing) We're sorry for the wait! An agent will be with you shortly!

Voice 2: (male, mournful) We're sorry you have been waiting so long. We serve milllllleeeons of customers and we have our busy times. We will be with you as soon as possible.

Voice 3: (female, calm, gentle and slightly disapproving) We are sorry for the delay. Do you know you can take care of any number of things on our web site? I will now give a long and tedious list of examples of these things for you. Then I will recite the website address several times in case you missed it. I will not point out that this is why you're waiting, idiot, but I do hope you get the idea.


Agent: thankyouforcallingsocialsecurity. Please state your first name... and your last... and....


chuild2 said...

it's almost as bad as the health system, and aps!!

For Kirk said...

Well.... nearly. But DANG I'm good at spelling my first name now!