MY DAY AT THE
SOCIAL SECURITY FIELD OFFICE
While researching this book, I happened upon an individual who
related the following story of his experience while visiting a
Social Security Field Office in 1970.
When I was a teenager I perceived that social security was a scheme developed to promote socialistic ideals and as such, was in direct opposition to the established principles of Christian morality and Law upon which the existence of the free institutions of our American constitutional Republic depend. It puzzled me that apparently no American could work without completing certain government regulatory forms that on there face evidenced compliance to numerous federal regulations. I had been taught by my parents and teachers that the liberty to labor for one’s support and living was an inherent obligation founded in the commandments of God and that there could be no logical reason to subjugate the exercise of one’s right to the liberty of the free marketplace unless one desired to participate in programs founded in socialist principles. How it was that virtually every employer could demand that a man or woman, born in the United States of America, submit to alienating practices in order to work for them appeared to me a great mystery. After all, Americans were born free and did not have to seek permission to exercise the liberty to occupy fields of common right, nor could they be legally penalized for refusing to alienate their inherent liberties. With this general background in view, the reader may find the following recital understandable, and perhaps even reasonable.
In the later years of my minority, it became apparent that I would have to approach the Social Security Administration concerning questions I had relative to obtaining a Social Security Number. I had deferred this as long as I could without placing myself into a position which I felt would lead to possible difficulties. I had read the materials furnished in high school, through the courtesy of the federal government concerning income tax filing and the various penalties that could befall one for not properly dealing with various tax obligations. In general, the material was confusing and contradictory.
However, there was always the clear flavor of threat running throughout it. And again, it appeared that you had to get a Social Security Number to fulfill the obligations the literature focused on. Accordingly, in the spring of 1970, I went to a field office of the Social Security Administration. Upon entry I presented myself to an officer of the agency. She kindly asked if I was there to apply for a Social Security Number. I replied with a mild look of disgust on my face that I supposed that was right. In seeing my response, the field officer replied that it didn’t appear to her that I was very excited about the prospect. I then took the opportunity to express to her my feelings on the matter, telling her frankly that I resented the fact that apparently the whole world was intent on my procuring a number and I wondered why it was that such an undertaking was necessary. I stated that I understood applying for a Social Security Number was to be voluntary but that this idea was apparently a joke of some kind and could not understand how the application could be mandatory. She asked if I desire to have social welfare benefits. This question went against the grain and I emphatically told her that promoting or receiving government welfare benefits was contrary to my personal religious beliefs and that I absolutely had no interest obtaining, or in doing anything that would render me eligible to obtain any such benefits. I stated that “Government benefits were exactly what I do not want.” Looking at me she asked if I was sure about that. She then asked if I didn’t think I might want such security in the future, to which I replied that I was willing to take responsibility for myself and that I believed that I should place my faith in God and not government welfare.
She stated that my position could be a problem because “welfare was what the whole program was about nowadays.” I said that such an idea seemed clear enough but that I still could not understand why a Social Security Number was demanded by so many different people and agencies. She then asked straightway if I were a “U.S. citizen.” By this time I was feeling a little bolder but at the same time uncertain. In other words, I was beginning to “smell a rat.” I replied that I was born in the United States. However, she quickly stated that that is not what she was asking. I was now confused and I told her that my understanding of law was that being born in one of the states made me a citizen of the United States. She stated I still was not answering the question correctly and that a “U.S. citizen must have a Social Security number in order to work as an employee or under self-employment.” I replied that I didn’t believe I was a U.S. citizen then, because it was my birthright to be able to work without governmental permission as long as I didn’t break the law.
She asked where I was born. I answered, “I was born in Utah.” She then said, “then you do have the right to work without permission from the government.” I inquired how I could work for someone else without a Social Security number. She informed me that unless I wanted to work at some congressionally regulated interstate occupation, there was no law that could compel me to use a Social Security Number. She stated that virtually all employers in the private sector are actually classified under social security and tax law as “federal employers” so that they could “cover” the obligations of all of the U.S. citizens that worked for them and were subject to social security taxes, employment taxes and income taxes. It was her opinion that as long as we still were a nation under law, if any employer were to hire me and later threaten me with termination if I did not furnish a Social Security number, I would have a lawful cause of action against that employer. She asked me if I thought I might want to someday work in “covered employment.” I stated I did not anticipate such an eventuality but I didn’t want to do anything that would reduce my options as long as I did nothing that would impair any fundamental rights. She replied my position would be honored, that she would note my reservation of rights on a SS-5 form and assured me the Social Security Number issued would not be associated with “welfare/suretyship enumeration.”
She then left for a few minutes and returned with an addendum form for me to complete. She stated that since I did not desire welfare enumeration, she could not issue me a pre-printed social security card from the field office and that my Social Security card would be issued from the central office in Baltimore, Maryland. She then left again to call the central office to obtain my social security number and to complete and attach this addendum to my SS-5 application giving further details on the qualification and reservations that characterized the Social Security number being issued to me.
As we waited for the response from Baltimore, she looked at me and said she needed to ask me one more question. She asked, “Do you want to pledge yourself as surety for the national debt.” After contemplating this offer for a moment, the thought came into my mind “avoid debt like the plague.” I responded in the negative. We then engaged in some general discussion and she stated that the legal authority for issuing the type of Social Security number I would receive was found in the original Social Security regulations concocted in the late thirties linking the participant to regulated interstate commerce, but as no government program was currently being administered under the original law, my number would carry no obligation under interstate commerce or the current scheme of welfare enumeration and suretyship for a bankrupt, namely, the U.S. Government.
Shortly thereafter, the Social Security Number was received from Baltimore and she handed me the SS-5 application to sign. Before signing, I again wanted her to verify the fact that I had done nothing relative to our proceedings that would impair my status relative to my standing in law. She assured me I had not. She said if I did not receive my social security card in a couple of weeks, or if the number was different than the one Baltimore had processed, I should bring it to her and she would “correct the problem.”
Before I left, I asked her if all Social Security Administration officers were as knowledgeable as she. Her reply was that she suspected not, although they were required to know the law relating to their official duties. She stated that a person couldn’t be working with the Administration as long as she had been and not pick up some things along the way.
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