Friday, May 14, 2010

I Am No Longer Unemployed

Today was a milestone: I have been unemployed since the summer of 2007, but today that changed. Today I retired.
It wasn't as easy as they'd like to make you think when you go to the Social Security website. They have videos featuring Patty Duke and Chubby Checkers – talkin' about my g-g-generation – telling us how quick and easy it is to retire online. Do it now! It's easy!
It's easy if you aren't as easily confused as I am. I tried to retire last March, because I'd been told to apply a couple of months before I turned 62. Being the good girl I am, I went online and began the easy process.
It was easy right up until they asked, “Are you able to get a job?” I said, “No.”
Big mistake: suddenly I was off the mainline to Retirement City, and shunted onto the sidetrack of the 7% incline of applying for disability.
Why I said I was unable to get a job: first and foremost I have a full time job doing paperwork to make things happen for my husband.
Second, okay, so I can't walk or stand for long because of various accidents that have left me bunged up and arthritic, but I'm not entirely sure that counts because there are plenty of people who can't walk who are employed. In my present condition I admire them quite a lot for making the effort, because I now have an idea of what it takes, but my mind and my fingers still work – sporadically most days, but that's not uncommon at all at any age – and that's enough to work in this society. Except...
Third, I'm over 60. I'm not the employee most places want. It's hard to find a job at any age for most people right now, but more so for what my husband calls the nouveau elderly, and if you doubt me take a random poll of people over 60 looking for work.
So I didn't want to apply for disability, but suddenly I found I had. I screwed up, and I didn't fix it, because I didn't understand how badly I had screwed up. I might be able to get disability because I am kind of disabled, but it would mean more of the kind of paperwork I've been swamped with for the last six months, and I'm tired, and we're broke. I simply wish to retire.
Then, this morning I remembered that I had the number of the man at Social Security who processed my husband's disability claim (my husband qualified easily, and all I can tell you about that is that if you can qualify for disability easily, your life sucks and blows).
I tried calling that number, and the man answered, and I told him what I wanted to do, and he was kind and humorous and helpful and fifteen minutes later, I was retired.
My head's been spinning the rest of the day. My friend Sonya is here visiting and she's heard me say, “I'm not unemployed anymore! I'm retired!” so many times to so many people that I expect her to say, “Enough already!” but she's been a really good sport about it and says she's happy for me.
So if you're thinking of retirement and the Social Security website lures you in with their red, white and blue promises of how easy it is, go ahead and retire online, but be vewy, vewy careful (Elmer Fudd was big for my generation, also).
Be prepared, also: if you watch the cute Patty Duke video telling you how easy it is to retire, you might be walking around the next few months singing in your head, “Because they're cousins, identical cousins just the same...” And if you don't remember that, you might not be part of my g-g-generation.

No comments: