Government efficiency an oxymoron?


She decides that she must make a call to the federal government. She grits her teeth and dials. Because she knows the call won’t be quick, she’s already been to the bathroom. Much like our mothers used to admonish before a car trip, “Just try.” She tried.

“Hello, my name is X. My agent ID number is xxxxx.”

“Hi, X. I need help please. I’ve received a letter from your department saying that I owe $3,000 in overpaid benefits.”

“What is your social insurance number?”

Several identification questions later and she has a chance to explain her situation.

“When I didn’t receive my benefit last month, I phoned and an agent told me I would receive a double payment this month, but today this letter came saying I owe.”

The agent asks a couple more questions and puts her  on hold for ten minutes. When he comes back on line he thanks her for waiting and tells her she needs to send certain tax information for 2013.

Fortunately, she has copies of the letters she’s sent and tells the agent that she sent that information on May 14, 2014.

Ten more minutes on hold and  she’s told that, yes, they do have that information. Then he says they need information for 2012.

She explains that she sent that information in a letter dated February 22, 2014 and that she sent another letter summarizing the satiation on January 5, 2015.

On hold again. Twenty seven minutes later the agent comes back and tells her that the information wasn’t sent to the right department and he has now taken steps to do so, but he can’t tell her when she might receive the benefit as the file has to be reassessed. She protests and is put on hold for another twenty minutes.

The final result: She’s told her benefit is going to be processed in time for this month’s payment. She’s also told to send a letter repeating all of the information they already have. This last scares her. If she sends the letter, will it help or will it serve to confuse the situation further? Perhaps it would be best to wait and see what happens with this month’s benefit payment before making such a momentous decision. And good thing she went to the bathroom before all this started.




8 comments on “Government efficiency an oxymoron?

  1. I think it’s interesting that our elected officials think the downtrodden are taking advantage of government benefits. I think it’s just the opposite. People get a government job and believe that the government will always have money. Thus they don’t have to work as hard as the rest of us, and it often shows.

    • I wouldn’t argue with you about that. First call. “Oh, yes, we have that information, but it wasn’t input properly. I’ll do that for you.” Second call. “Oh, yes, we have that information, but it wasn’t input properly. I’ll do that for you.” Third call. “We do not have that information. Please send it again. Maybe you could drop it off in person to be sure that we get it.”

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