Wednesday, March 16, 2016


When we moved to Madison, we made some changes in our banking. Tom had always used Associated Bank, which is a chain and he just kept doing what he had always done. I had used a local Dells bank for my personal accounts and Certificates of Deposit -- with which I have been very happy, BTW --  and we had our joint account in the same local bank.

We closed the joint account and moved it to Associated Bank. No problem. 

I opened a personal checking account with Associated as well. I am keeping the Dells account open for a while because it simplifies some CD transfers. But in a year, that will be done and I will close the account down. Meanwhile, I am transferring most of my activities to the Associated account because it is two miles away instead of fifty.

This post has to do with direct deposits: royalties from book sales and my Social Security.

There are three royalty-paying accounts, and it was a simple matter to change those online from the old account to the new one. Instanter. The handful of pennies I receive now flow into my moth-filled coffer at Associated Bank.

I went to my Social Security account online -- as suggested by my local SS office -- and made the change there. It took no time to do it. I was told, however, that the change would not become effective for two to three months, and so my check continues to be deposited in the Dells account.

This doesn't matter much to me. Both accounts are alive and active.

But why does it take Social Security two to three months to do something that Amazon and its ilk accomplish in two to three seconds?

I'm sure there is a reason. And I suspect the reason is that their policies for changes of this nature have not caught up with the way banks operate today.

Last summer we had another issue with Social Security -- no need to go into details -- and ran into a similar problem. The people were all very nice and accommodating and we expected no problems. Then we found out there were problems. 

The problem: The SSA policy book had not been updated to take into account changes in the laws. Everyone agreed that the laws had changed but, and it was a big BUT, they could not do anything about it because the policy was to continue to use the Pony Express. (Not really, but you get my drift.) After several months, a rejection and a heavily documented legal appeal, everything was resolved to our satisfaction.

Oddly, they chose not to act on our appeal but chose to deny the appeal (this was in accord with the policy) and then to take up again the initial request as if it had never been rejected in the first place. And lo and behold! It was accepted. (Doing it this way delayed the final decision by another month.) Because, you know, the laws had changed and obviously they were going to conform to the changed legal situation.

That is probably somewhere in the policy book. I suppose if anyone ever looks at the case, they will see that the "original" request had been handled in accord with the law and so no one had messed up at any time.

On a side note, I imagine there are people who would be so angry about this that they would denounce the Social Security Administration and the entire Obama administration and vote for He Who Shall Never Be Named to make a point. Not me. I am grateful that Social Security is there, even if its ways are sometimes a mystery. It has meant that life for my parents and my grandparents was better than would have been the case without it. And it means my life is a bit more secure now.

And all the people, even when they were not doing what I wanted them to do, treated me with respect and kindness. Which is no small thing in today's world.

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