Last Thursday, just as i was finishing my post about our VocRehab appointment, the phone rang. The lady said she was from FSSA.
At least i thought that's what she said. But that couldn't be right,
because she asked to talk to Max, and they have our guardianship papers on file. THOSE are always the first thing i present, EVERYWHERE.
But talk to Max she must, so downstairs i went and asked him to pick up the phone and talk to the nice lady.
And he actually did, which surprised me.
"OH MY HERO!"
he began. Then he continued with some stuff that made no sense to me, and handed the phone back. But the lady was satisfied, because SHE'D heard OK somewhere in the garble, and that could be somehow construed as giving her permission to talk to me.
Would you be suspicious at this point? i sure was.When i returned upstairs, she wanted Max's social security number. No, not the last four digits, like they always ask for, the WHOLE thing.
i don't think so.At this point i wanted more verification. Can you give me your name? A number i can call?
She gave me the (supposed) direct line to her desk.
Understand she'd said enough that i was pretty sure she was someone i needed to talk to, IF she was who she claimed, but she was asking me stuff i didn't think i should give out.
So i tried her long distance number, plus extension.
Four timesi got a calling tree, which actually did identify the place as FSSA, but the extension number did not work. It was as if i was just sitting there, doing nothing with my rotary phone which their system couldn't recognize.
i could've just given up, but i really thought this was a legitimate call. i tried 2 landline phones and my cell, with the same results. The long distance number worked, but not the extension.
Then i decided, ok, if this is really FSSA, i can reach them on my own. (MyGuy says this was the proper procedure - a scammer would certainly have made sure to answer with the correct/expected response.) i went to this webpage, found my county, found my zip code, and bingo! there's my local office, WITH a phone number. i got a person whose name i couldn't quite make out - have it in my notes in two versions; it's not a name familiar to my culture. This person needed vital nformation too, but this time i knew with whom i was dealing - i'd initiated the call.
She put me on hold, and when she came back she was able to verify that someone had tried to call me earlier in the day (as the caller had said), and there were two numbers which were working with our case.
(MyGuy:What sort of numbers. Telephone numbers? clerks' IDs? case numbers? i assumed phone numbers, but actually i have no idea.)
The Indianapolis representative found the person who had called me. She gave me her name, and was going to try to transfer the call, though she warned it might not work. If it did, i might get voicemail rather than the person, and i should leave a message explaining my situation. If not, i should call the local office again.
Transferring calls is always tricky.
And this involved transferring long distance. i was skeptical that it would work, but i waited for the phone system to work its magic.
And my contact picked up.
i must admit i didn't hear what she actually said - the Muzak was loud & her voice was soft - but she didn't hedge when i asked if her name was _____ _______, as given to me by the local agent. Long Distance Agent filled me in on matters relating to our appeal, which involved not only Max having too much in funds (see above re Disney stock), but our not having returned requested information. (We returned everything we were asked to return.)
i pointed out to the agent that i ALWAYS submit the guardianship papers first.
iwe know very well that no one will talk to me & MyGuy about Max without them. She kinda chuckled, and said that,
Advice from the Agent
as the mom of a disabled 30something herself, she's learned to alwa;ys
- BRING, not snailmail or fax, the paperwork to the office.
- Bring not just one, butTWO copies, one to leave, and the second to have the officeworker stamp and date, "Yes, you brought this paper to us on this date."
Apparently my copies of what i faxed/brought in, with cover letters, are not good enough.
(Seems to me that's going to be even more cumbersome than what i've got now. i suppose thumbnails won't work? MyGuy suggested having the agency make the copies - that way they won't have to check that it's the same thing, & there's no way we could get a copy of something else in for the datestamping [Remember Hogan's Heroes slipping in the blank for Klink's signature?])
EVERYONE we have dealt with at FSSA has been pleasant and seemingly helpful. Have they been trained?
That guardianship paper was part of the packet we gave our intake specialist the same person who misadvised us about what to send in. The FIRST part, the first thing we gave her, the top of the stack.
Did they ever get ANYTHING that we faxed? Some faxes obviously weren't going through, but others seemed to be.
And what about the snailmailed packets and the ones we hand delivered? Did they just get round-filed?
(Once i heard a rumor from a presumably well-placed person that our insurance did that with papers left on desks at the end of the day. Hard to believe, whether a private or public agency. . . .)
Or are they in the bottom of a heap on somebody's desk?
The drama never ends.
Well, on to the next crisis.
People tell me that i'm so organized.
Correction: i LOOK organized.
i have a binder, multiple binders with actual tabs in them.
But i don't file things promptly. Right now i need to find time with MyGuy to order our papers for the upcoming hearing and find the VocRehab paperwork. And i got another phonecall earlier this week - this caller didn't ask any unseemly info, and i'm sure she's legitimate too, but still i need to check out that i really made the appointment with a genuine VocRehab person.
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