(Pub. NOTE: From the very beginning in 1981, I thought the social security fund would be more of a slush fund for the elected politicians than anything else. I haven’t seen much to change my mind. Below is a column of mine which was originally published in the Friday, February 22, 1991 issue of AMANDALA.)
Several months ago, the Social Security Board sent in one of their investigators and, as a result of his findings, claimed that AMANDALA owed them several thousand dollars.
My first reaction was to have them take me to court so that I could have a public forum to explain just how unjust AMANDALA had found the social security laws to be; but as an older and less aggressive person, I last week made a verbal commitment to begin payment.
I feel more than ever that the law is cruel and oppressive, nevertheless, especially to a small business like AMANDALA, and I will now tell you why.
Ever since the law was implemented about 8 or 9 years ago, our workers and the newspaper began to pay our fees.
The first time there was a claim from one of our workers, it had to do with pregnancy, and the benefits were not huge, but we could live with them, as I remember.
But about two years ago, one of our senior workers experienced back spasms which crippled him for two weeks. This worker will average about $350 a week, so I had to hire a replacement for a similar salary. For the two weeks, I gave the crippled worker his full pay, a total of maybe $700, and waited for his social security claim to be settled.
After they had him up and down several times to satisfy all their medical and other checks, they gave him a total of $90 in benefits for the two weeks he was incapacitated!
After that infuriating farce, I just ceased to register new workers. The reason is that if I will have to pay their salaries when there is a problem, and I do so pay, why should we, worker and employer, mess around with a system which is almost a rip off?
The reason we should mess around with the system is because it is the law and so I owe several thousand dollars because I wasn’t registering new workers.
The social security system will not take into account that in the last 5 months, for instance, AMANDALA spent almost $2,000 on medical expenses for staff. We sent a worker to Merida for specialist treatment after he experienced seizures out of the blue; we paid for an operation on another worker who had a serious leg injury suffered off the job; and we paid various medical and other expenses for a worker who was stabbed, again off the job.
With social security breathing down my back, I would like to have that two grand. But I have to help these kids when they need it. Social Security Board, however, with $80 million in the bank, insists on having their several pounds of flesh.
It’s the law, but it ain’t fair.