Retirement Is Not For Sissies

Hi, Boomers,

I want to get back to my original topic about retirement.  I wrote my first speech way back a year and a half ago entitled:  Retirement Is Not An Option:  Act 3 and I’m highly motivated to revisit this retirement subject.

Does thinking about having to go to your local social security office to discuss either your social security benefits or medicare issues make you nauseous?  Yes?  Well, me, too, but that’s what I had to do yesterday.  I just signed my tax return on Saturday and I was hell bent to visit my SS office and inquire if they would reduce my medicate subsidy to the 2009 amount – something like $96.40 a month.  One good year in 2010 put me in another medicare bracket.  Horrors!  I had to pay $199 because I sold something of value – a piece of property – and, BOOM! I’m a one time only millionaire.

Well, I ‘m not a millionaire by any stretch of the government’s imagination, and so I took my 2011 tax return to the SS office – daring to enter the room without an appointment and, lo! there was a light crowd.  I took #408 and waited like the warrior I am for about 20 minutes (that could have been a record at 2:45 on a Tuesday afternoon).  Before I could think of what I wanted to write for my blog, my number was called.

I explained to the nice lady that I wanted someone to review my 2011 tax and reduce my medicare subsidy to the 2009 amount.  She took a look at my 2010 tax return and left me abruptly returning only to give me papers to fill out.  What kind of catastrophe happened to me in 2011 that reduced my income the papers wanted to know?  Divorce? Death? Reduced hours on my job? Did I get fired? Property loss?  Wait!!! Property loss.  I sold/lost (who cares) my big money property.  I put that down, called my tax accountant, got some figures and returned to the window. Then she highlighted in yellow what other documentation I had to get.  Proof from an insurance inspector that my property was destroyed by fire.  Fire?

“No, mam,” I said tentatively. “I sold the property.  It was a one time sale and so my real income in on my 2011 tax return.”  It took awhile for that information to sink in.  Suddenly, she called her supervisor and in low, hushed tones, conferred with him as to my problem and my request.

“Let me talk to this person, please,” I said to her.  “I’ll set him straight.”  She handed me the phone.

The man was nice, really, and didn’t cop an government attitude, but he assured me firmly that the government only looks at a medicare subsidy increase or decrease every two years.

“That’s not fair,” I blurted out.  “I got lucky.  You are penalizing me for getting lucky one lousy year.  Where did you guys get this rule?”


“Congress passed a law?” I asked incredulously .  “Did Congress really pass a law? When did that happen.  They never pass laws.”

“They passed it two years ago,” he proudly replied.

“I don’t believe that,” I said.  “They never pass anything.  And besides that’s not fair.  You’re making me pay $199 a month for an entire year that my income had dropped.  The 2011 tax return is my real income.  The 2010 income was fake.  A fluke.  An aberration.”  I faded out and handed the phone to the nice lady who was laughing at me behind windows that looked like thick venetian blinds that couldn’t protect her from some angry tax payer who wanted to stick his hand and grab her neck.

“I guess that’s it,” I said to the lady. I was actually stunned. “An hour and a half of my life just went down the black hole. I guess I have to pay an extra $1200 a year in medicare subsidies because I made too much money one year.  I guess Congress passed a law.  And someone at the medicare office discovered someone named Joan Frances Moran and noted in an officious letter:  ‘Pay up. You made too much money.'”  Me, I never made hardly any money in my entire life so this is very odd to me that I should be one of the chosen few to be singled out by the medicare troops.

I thanked her and left the SS office probably never to return again unless I move to Austin next year.  But they have SS offices in Austin.  They have offices everywhere.




Share the Post:

Related Posts