Monday, 2 December 2013

The diary of a debutante superannuitant - Step 1, paper work

To begin at the beginning; I turn 65 on the 26th of December and Heather's birthday is 17 days later, the 13th of January. As we both turn 65 over the Christmas break, we thought we'd better get organised before everything closes for the holidays, so we are getting our paper work in order.

So far we have found, or requested new copies of our birth certificates, passports, bank accounts, and our marriage certificate. We need these because tomorrow we've taken a day of leave, to visit the Ministry of Social Development Senior Service office in New Brighton. I go first, with an interview at 10am - they've allowed 90 minutes for this! Considering that the NZ Government already knows all about me, from my health records to my IRD number, I'll be interested to see how much new information they actually collect. Heather follows with a similar interview time.

We hope that the MSD can organise pension payments to start on the single rate on 26 December, then shift to a married couple rate after one fortnightly payment, when Heather's birthday comes two weeks later. I am skeptical about their ability to be that agile, but we'll see.

After the MSD, we go to renew our driver's licences. These are set to expire in the month you turn 65 (anyone over 55, take a look) - so we've both had eyesight checks from the optician, because the eye test systems at the AA are renowned for not working well. I've also had to get a medical clearance so I can keep my truck licence - I don't know when medicals became compulsory for that, but I may as well keep the licence active in case I ever need to shift something large and heavy. They'll probably want our birth certificates as well.

So that's the story so far - lots of paper, several visits to doctors and opticians, and many phone calls to obtain other documents. How do people who aren't organised and literate cope with this bureaucratic forest?

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