• Tag Archives social security
  • A Decent Insurance Sales Agent

    Winter                                                       Waning Moon of the Cold Month

    Kathryn Kiegler has restored, no, wait that’s too strong, has challenged my opinion about insurance sales folk.  She gave us good advice, walked us through the labyrinth that is Medicare and the various parts attached to it A, B, C, and D, then helped us evaluate a plan best suited to Kate’s needs.  She was clear, patient, gave us the time we needed.  Great person to work with.

    We did hit one weird snag.  Kate had not gotten her part B card, nor her letter telling her she had been enrolled.  Without this letter or the card Kate couldn’t sign up for Medicare advantage at all.  Kathryn called Social Security, finally, after a really long and tedious animated voice, a real human came on the line.  Kathryn explained Kate’s need for the letter, the woman agreed to fax it and all seemed in order.  Except.  By the time we were ready to leave, no fax.  None of us wanted to wait the 10-12 minutes to go through the animated phone information.

    What to do?  Kathryn recommended going to the Social Security and getting the letter in person.  Not a bad solution since the SSA office is on Chicago Avenue and 18th, not all that far from Kathryn’s office near Westminster Church downtown.  So, we drove over there.  Kate went in while I waited outside.  I’m not real patient with bureaucracy.  When she returned a bit later, letter in hand, she told me why we had received no fax.  “The man told me the Social Security Administration never faxes anything with a social security number on it.”

    Hmmm.  Have you ever read Kafka?  Can you imagine, say, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles choosing to never fax something with a license plate number on it?  Yes, of course. Identity theft. I know.  Seems that such intelligent folks could have figured out a solution.  One idea.  When faxing a document to the person whose social security number is involved?  Leave it off and let them fill it in on the other end.

    The really good news in this is that our budget for Kate’s insurance costs was about double the cost we’ll pay.  That probably means the same will hold true for me.  That will remove several thousand dollars a year from our expenses, maybe a bit more.  Where was that cruise brochure?  Maybe we could afford that round the world jet junket?  Nah, even at $65,000 that sounded like a cheesy deal.  The Amazon River?  Egypt?  Possible.  Maybe possible.

  • Finishing the Puzzle–Not Quite Done. But Close.

    Winter                                                              Waning Moon of the Cold Month

    One more piece of the retirement puzzle should get put in place today, Medicaid part D for Kate.  We’re visiting an adviser recommended by both Ruth Hayden and RJ Devick  to help us sort through the overwhelming number of choices.

    Since last year we’ve added social security for both of us, withdrawals from the IRA, my pension, long term care insurance, Kate’s medicare, added funds to our cash savings and trimmed our budget some.  Now we just have to live a few months into this way of getting our cash together and see how it works.  Don’t anticipate any big problems.

    Seems like the most difficult part of all this is the setting up, making choices phase.  After that, barring disaster, things look reasonably smooth for us.  That way, we can just go back to life as we live it day to day.  Because we’ve done so much planning for such a long while now, the transition seems to have been easy, but, of course, it wasn’t.  Lots of legwork, phone calls, penciled in budgets, head scratching over rules and options.    Worth it  though.

  • This Day, So Far

    Spring                                       Awakening Moon

    As the awakening moon wanes, its work done, life has begun to take on its growing season rhythms here at 7 oaks.  I’m hunting for weed free straw, leek transplants and onion sets.  Gotta lay down some bulb fertilizer because bulbs need extra help as they blossom.

    It’s been a productive day.  Kate and I finished our budget work for 2011–retirement budget.  It has lots of unfamiliar factors in it:  COBRA for me,  Medicare part B for Kate, shifting to checks from our retirement account, social security.  Some unknowns.  But, we look pretty good right now.

    We had lunch.  Now.  A nap.

  • Other Drivers

    Lughnasa                           Waxing Green Corn Moon

    Up early.  Woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I fed the dogs, got the paper and made breakfast.

    I spent an hour deciding where to put some extra cash among several spots at Vanguard (I chose a T.I.P.S. mutual fund.), then put  together a China tour:  the Sacred Arts of China.  I’m subbing and wanted to do something I’d already researched.

    Kate and I had our business meeting.  More money and calendar stuff.  We decided I should get long term care insurance, so I sent off for the application.  I also bought an orchard rack to store dried fruits and vegetables in the dry storage area Jon built over his vacation here.

    A while back I mentioned passing the deaf driver signing wildly and turning, hands off the wheel, to read the communication from his passenger.  A couple of days ago I was on my way into St. Paul; a car in front of me swerved over and back across the center line.  I had an opportunity to pass and took it.  It was a woman wearing a burka, a narrow angle of vision in the fading twilight.

    Today I had a small, bitter cherry from a bush in our new orchard.  On another bush across the way, must be different, I picked two (100% of the crop) that were fleshy and sweet.  Someday I have to learn the names of all of these plants.

    Got my notice of accepted application from the friendly folks at your social security administration.  This month on the third Wednesday I’ll get my first social security direct deposited.  Hmmm…