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....

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