Privacy Beats $6K
By Bob Small
They told me to trust them
First of all, I’m retired which means tired squared. So, I’m trying to keep my life as simple as possible and not do any unnecessary activities. However, when a friend called to tell me that FEMA is giving out grants for funeral expenses for those who died from Covid, knowing that was exactly what my 99-and-half-year-old mother had died from, I decided to pursue this. When he further explained that it only required a single phone call, in most cases, I was suddenly less tired.
Of course it wasn’t that simple, bureacracy never is.
The very second step was that FEMA required my social security number. Mine! After pointing out that the public is constantly told not to give out their social security number under most circumstances and that the grant was for my mother, not me, they repeated that they needed it. When they were asked why they needed it, they basically said “because”.
Now it should be mentioned that my previous life included drudging for the state of Pennsylvania, in benefit determination. Now this required the applicant to provide their SSN, so we could match it with any employment, etc. income. However, even this did not capture many of those who were in “the underground economy”.
However, in the case of FEMA, I was told that “you can trust us” and, again, the only reason given was “because”, which my parents told me until at least the age of 12.
So I next did what any typical American citizen would do. I called my Congressperson. Their office said that they guessed FEMA needed proof that the person applying was not an illegal alien, either from Russia or Mars. They suggested that a Pennsylvania Birth Certificate would answer that concern.
Unfortunately. my second call went about the same as the first. The couldn’t tell me why they needed the SSN, and only the SSN, only that, like with many recipes, no substitutions were allowed. When momma said don’t touch the stove, she had a damn fine reason!
So I came to the decision that my privacy is worth $6,000 more than my finances. Not everyone could afford to do this. As someone somewhere must have said, “having money means you can have principles”. As it is, my inner libertarian came through this time.
Privacy Beats $6K