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Posts Tagged ‘red tape’

Night of the Living DeadIf you have ever had to deal with the federal government’s bureaucracy, you can only imagine how hard it would be to prove to the government that you actually are alive if their records reflect that you are dead. After all, just showing up at the Social Security Administration isn’t going to do it. Given that, how exactly does someone prove to the satisfaction of the government that they aren’t dead, when they’re dealing with brain-dead government employees who simply believe whatever their computer screen tells them?

Yet, a shocking number of Americans have to find this out the hard way; by at least one official estimate, the government incorrectly declares 35 Americans dead every single day.

The problem begins at the Social Security Administration, keeper of most of the records tabulating deaths in the United States. Like other government agencies, the IRS, with whom Todd has most recently tangled, relies upon Social Security’s database, said Dan Boone, a spokesman for the IRS.

When Social Security determines that an eligible current or future beneficiary has died, it closes the person’s entry in its Case Processing and Management System, or CPMS.

The system is only as good as the data it receives. Sometimes, that isn’t very good.

Todd, for example, was killed when someone in Florida died and her Social Security number was accidentally typed in. Since then, her tax returns have repeatedly been rejected, and her bank closed her credit card account.

“One time when I [was] ruled dead, they canceled my health insurance because it got that far,” she said.

Toni Anderson of Muncie, Ind., expired when someone in the government pushed the wrong button, making the records declare that it was she, not her husband, John, who died Nov. 8.

Social Security even sent this letter: “Dear Mr. Anderson, our condolences on the loss of Mrs. Anderson.”

In September 2006, the inspector general’s office tried to get a fix on how many people Social Security was improperly killing off by reviewing updates to the agency’s Death Master File.

In all, Social Security officials had to “resurrect” 23,366 people from January 2004 to September 2005. In other words, over a period of 21 months, Social Security was presented with irrefutable evidence that it had been “killing” more than 1,100 people a month, or more than 35 a day.

Two months later, in November 2006, the inspector general looked specifically at 251 cases of people to whom the agency continued to issue checks even though Medicare records said they were dead.

“Of the 251 individuals in our population, 86 are deceased and their SSI payments should be terminated,” the audit said. “The remaining 165 beneficiaries were actually alive and their Medicare benefits—and, in some cases, their SSI payments—were incorrectly terminated.”

Read this entire article here.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Drivers license photo at DMVIn the next six years, Americans born after December 1, 1964 will be required to get more secure driver’s licenses under the Real ID Act. Real ID was passed in 2005, and is supposed to make it harder for terrorists, illegal immigrants, and con artists to get government issued identification. Originally the new IDs were supposed to be introduced this year.

States, however, have balked at the idea, believing it to be either unnecessary or unduly expensive. The ACLU has vehemently objected to the sharing of personal data among government agencies, which will occur under Real ID. While the Department of Homeland Security claims that the only way to make sure an ID is safe is to check it against secure government information, the American Civil Liberties Union says it will only make it more likely for identities to be misused or stolen.

Furthermore, the ACLU claims REAL ID will be the “first-ever national identity card system,” which “would irreparably damage the fabric of American life.”

While I’m glad to note that I will be exempt, at least until 2017, it still bothers me. It’s just too much like asking for my “papers”, as far as I’m concerned. On the other hand, at least the government realizes that someone my age (45 now, will be 51 when the law goes into effect) is highly unlikely to be a terrorist, which is what I have been saying all along whenever I get hassled about flying or whatever. I’m one of those people whose kids are out of the house, and now I’m joyfully awaiting the day when I have grandchildren. People like me are not terrorists, except when it comes to our daughters-in-law. 😉

Under Real ID, the cards will have three layers of security but will not contain microchips; and states will be able to choose which security measures they will put in their cards. Also, the driver’s license photograph would be taken at the beginning of the application instead of at the end, in order to keep the applicant’s photo on file to check for fraud.The government expects all states to start checking the social security numbers and immigration status of license applicants.Most states already check Social Security numbers, and about half already check immigration status. Some states are already using many of the security measures of REAL ID. For example, California expects the only real change in their current procedure will be to take the photo at the beginning of the application rather than at the end.

Once the social security and immigration checks become practice nationwide, Homeland Security will move on to checking with the State Department when people use a passport to get a drivers license (why don’t they already do that?), verifying birth certificates, and checking to make sure the person doesn’t have more than one license.

As if getting a drivers license and dealing with the DMV bureaucracy isn’t already a major pain in the ass, it will get worse. And it will be easier for people to steal your identity. Hmmmm ….. this sounds like a very, very bad idea to me. Just get states to do what they should already be doing (check social security numbers, check immigration status, check to make sure they’re who they claim to be when they use a passport to get a drivers license, require that lost or stolen licenses be reported within a certain period of time) and everything should be fine.

Law-abiding American citizens should not get an even bigger hassle in dealing with government red tape, just because a few people are assholes. And I will always be wondering whether the jerk clerk at the DMV is stealing my identity more thoroughly than any thief ever could, thus encouraging widespread paranoia and the attendant reliance upon the government which comes with it.
Of course, that’s what the government wants. They want us to depend upon them for everything, because that gives them power over us. God forbid that everyone simply be responsible for themselves.

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Source: CNN “US Unveils New Driver’s License Rules”

Originally posted by ElfNinosMom on Adventures in Frickintardistan

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