Social Security and Creative Caregiving 

reative caregiving and Social Security involved erasing ignorance and on-the-job training for a phase of life not anticipated for a couple of decades.   Did you know that the US government establishes a deadline for change of address for Social Security pension checks each month?

Meditation with Clem October 2016 by Allison L. Williams Hill

Social Security Disability:
What One May Not Know Is Debilitating

American citizens have to reside in the United States for a minimum of five years in order to qualify for Social Security disability.  I documented my husband’s work history and faxed it all to Baltimore and then to Santo Domingo while we lived overseas.  After several months, including making long distance calls to a phone number always answered by a machine, I called an attorney’s office when we returned to the United States that offered free advice on it.  The person told me about the “Five Year Rule.”  Personnel at Social Security would not share this when I brought my husband in to contest the denial of benefits.  I still wonder why.  Social Security will have my husband’s contributions to use for another five years and I will apply for him again.

 Clem's Soul Portrait by Allison L. Williams Hill

The Santo Domingo office’s response to why they had not thought to tell me about residency before receiving all of the copied and mailed information was a blanket apology.

Social Security Benefits Choices

I was also unaware of the fact that a wife would have to choose between receiving her husband’s retirement benefits or her own.  She worked and contributed yet she would only receive one of the two.  That is an interesting scheme.  No one has stated to me and none of the Social Security literature I have read stated what happens to the wife’s contributions should she elect to receive her husband’s benefits.

“Equal pay for equal work” is still only an idea that seems to be avoided at every turn.    Men still earn 15 to 40% more than women.  Wives would wisely choose her late husband’s benefits in that case. 

Sound by Allison L. Williams Hill

What happens to the funds from all of the men and women who died either before drawing or while they received some of the benefits from their contributions?  The utterances about Social Security running out of funds do not make sense.  Generally Americans are surpassing the 65 year mark originally established because Americans, at the time Social Security was created, were not living that long.  It was seen as a “cash box” from which very few, if any, of the contributors would benefit.  The life span is extending through a number of things. 

I apply my knowledge from my practice at formerly Full Spectrum Living, now a part of In-Vesica, as a health coach for my husband’s health.  The Social Security support that he has earned is a part of this process for which fragmented information is available, unless you pay for it by hiring an attorney.

Automated Clearing Houses

The following was written on November 25, 2015, a little more than a month after my beloved’s transition.

Banks have their automated clearing houses or ACMs. I called the Social Security Administration about survivor benefits on Monday, November 23rd, 2015, over a month after my husband crossed over.

  The Social Security worker said the funds should have been accessible, the latest should have been Friday, the 26th.   I needed funds; I was my husband’s caregiver until he crossed over in October 2015.  All of his benefits ended, some of which I was allowed to use for personal needs.

JP Morgan Chase and the Federal Reserve

I called on the 25th of November 2015; the money was released on the 23rd.  The worker confirmed the routing number and the account number twice.  The checking account number was compared to the information taken on the 5th of November by a   Social Security worker who had an unforgettable name: Cinnamon Alexander.  She took her time documenting my case.  I appreciated her sensitivity.  I did not like being in public places at the time.  It felt as if every other moment I would cry.  The last bank account digit was a 5.  The number inputted to the application was a 2.  That delayed my receiving by as much as three weeks.

It was suggested that I call the bank where the account was and ask about the ACH – the automated clearing house.  The bank’s representative said the amount is pending and will be available on December 1.  It was insignificant what Social Security said about funds from the Federal Reserve.  The bank’s representative, when asked about the ACH, said it was JP Morgan Chase, and the stated the funds though pending will not be available until December 1st.

The agent (whose name I recorded) ended our conversation with a cheerful, “Have a nice day and thank you for calling South State Bank.”   

Legal Justification for Withholding Federal Reserve Funds from Customers-US Citizens

I sensed that the delay may have had something to do with the Thanksgiving holiday on the 26th was the excuse.  What are they possibly doing with Federal Reserve money entrusted to them, justifying withholding it from to whom it was issued?   I was the only one left of our family.  I wondered if other people relied on their benefits and decisions on guaranteed funds are made like this, how do they cope?  Is it right, acceptable, LEGAL for JP Morgan Chase or any other ACM to do this?  I was living in the south at the time: is this a regional action?  Or does this happen all over the country?   How often have they done this?  How often do they do this?

I intend to legally pursue this matter.  

The Next Steps

I had not married multiple times.  My husband was my first and only.  After over twenty years with him, unmarried and married, it was impossible to think he would not come home from hospital to more care in our home.       

People say time heals all wounds. It is a generalization.  Times is relative, per person.  As I won’t forget my Beloved, I won’t forget what JP Morgan did.  Not only to me because, God knows, how many other people may have experienced discomfort from their short-sighted – customer place - decision to benefit their long-sighted – corporation-centered - bottom line.   This statement is the first of many to bring to light a practice that apparently has happened before.  It may be a standard and not implemented during the holidays or, for that matter, in other parts of the United States.  But it will be worth finding out.  

An Altar with Lilies for Clem  by Allison L. Williams Hill




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