Thursday, October 28, 2004

Fe's birthday celebration

Oct 5 was Fe's birthday. The surprise party was planned by her business partner, Janis, who is a huntress as well. This is how surprised Fe was, when she entered Janis' house, expecting to meet a customer (they have a housekeeping business).

The two hugged after the shock has subsided...

Me, Fe and Ana...

The cake that Ana made for Fe. Look at the elaborate weave-style frosting at the side of the cake.

Fe reads here one of the cards that came with the gifts that she received.

Mary (a Burmese) on the left, and Janis' sister (?) (I have forgotten her name) on the right. It was a very warm group of people. Not snobbish or proud. Very accomodating, I felt at home with them. Wish we could have more time to get together. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 25, 2004

Social Security Administration Waterville Office is so Incompetent!

I filed my application on the last Thursday of August. Prior to that I downloaded a PDF application form, which also included instructions on how to fill it up, as well as the statement that said my card would be received 10-14 days from the date of filing.

A month and two weeks had passed, and I was wondering about my application. I called the 1-800-7721213 and the 8722723 numbers but I just got exasperatd by the answering machine and the endless loop of answers it gives. I decided to pay the office a visit for follow-up, but I had to coordinate with my friend Ana, as I myself have no means of transportation.

I showed to the officer my EAD card, which was the same ID I used to show the SS office that I was legally allowed to work, aside from my passport, marriage certificate and birth certificate for identity verification purposes. In fact, I brought all these with me again.

The man asked whether it was the woman (there were only two of them attending to us) who accepted my application, and I affirmed. He talked with her then came back to me. He told me that they are still verifying with the INS. I should expect notice of receipt after two weeks. I should just "hang on."

I asked when after the notice would I receive my card. He said two weeks after that (calculating a total of 4 weeks from my follow-up visit, equivalent to 2 months and a half from my date of filing). I asked whether I should follow up again or would they send me my card. He said I would receive it in my mailbox.

I said okay, thinking, "What is there to verify with the INS when my EAD card issued by the INS is already proof that I am cleared with them?" But I dared not argue. I did not want to jeopardize my status here in any way.

But I brought home with me the form for Customer Satisfaction. INS already uses Quality Assurance in their offices and sub-offices. The SSA, apparently, has not yet adopted it fully, basing on the lack of means for their customers to have a documentation of some sort that an application has been filed, and a follow-up had been made. However, their customer service questionnaire is one step towards that. I wonder if they really pay attention to it.

The application form I downloaded said 10-14 days, the questionnaire said their commitment is within 5 working days. These alone show a discrepancy in practices, and the actual scenario is not promising either.

I plan to send to them the questionnaire with my comments and complaints once I have my card already. And I want them to know that even non-government workers or immigrants like me have an idea of how quality management should be.

I was trained with ISO 9000:2000, and I have an international certification for Internal Quality Audit. I made a quality manual for a clinic applying the elements of QSR as per ISO 9000:2000.

These alone can already land me in a very good position in any hospital or clinic, not to mention my medical background and my 1-yr nursing course.

But I have to have my SS card first. Sighhhh....