Thursday, May 2, 2013

Stuff that happens

Here's what 'life' is--it's stuff that happens.

Today I went to the Social Security Office in Meriden, thinking it would be awful because the SSA claimed in a letter to me on April 5, that they'd overpaid me by $6850 dollars and asking me for it. It came down to my Self Employment bottom line on my tax return for 2011. Well, I wasn't 'self employed' in 2011, I was retired but Jane, who I love and who has done my taxes for years, just followed the computer program for 2010 and ended up making me 'self-employed' which is what clergy are, as dumb as that is, even though I always got a W-2 form like I worked for someone and had tax withheld though most 'self-employed' people make quarterly payments. Never mind.

The key was this, my W-2 forms--one from my pension for a lot more than I ever imagined a pension would be, a form from SS themselves and my form from the Middlesex Area Cluster Ministry which said I made $4,300 since the rest was housing--this amazing tax gimmick that clergy have that means you don't pay taxes on your housing costs. Amazing! Plus, I can still deduct the interest on my mortgage even though I don't pay taxes on the cost of my mortgage. Go figure....

Anyway, Jane submitted an amended IRS deal that means we'll get $3500 back since I was retired instead of self-employed when they get around to it. And I expected SS in Meriden to be a nightmare since I don't trust bureaucracy to ever work being an aging white man who was a week-end hippie in college--Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude if you will, though I smoked a bit of dope on week-ends and had long hair. Nobody who came of age in the 60's trusts the government--especially not Social Security.

To my surprise and delight, the folks at Social Security were wondrous--so kind and helpful and understanding. They kind of  understood what I was saying and finally looked at my W-2 forms and went into the computer and removed the $27,800 or so SS thought I made and entered the $4300 I really earned from work. All t he rest was from my pension which can't be counted an 'earned income' since I earned it long ago.

They also cancelled the ticking clock on the $6800 SS said I owned them back from 2011. Lord help us, all this is so convoluted and complex.

They were wonderful and called me 'James' until I told them to call me 'Jim' and when we were through both of them--it took two to understand it all--said 'Goodbye, Jim and have a nice day". Maybe it's in the SSA handbook for what to say to those who come in about something.

But I loved it nevertheless...

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.