Editor's Note: Briana Roberts, a graduating senior at Hampton University and student in my How to be Single and Happy class, wrote this letter in response to an assignment to advocate for a policy change to a law that benefits marrieds. I was impressed by the creative position she took: pretending to be a senior citizen in need of such benefits. Enjoy!
123 Fake Street
Anywhere, USA 23666
Social Security Administration
11706 Jefferson Ave.
Newport News, Virginia 23606
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Briana Roberts, and I am writing this letter to request a change in the Social Security Administration’s retirement benefit policy. As you will see in this statement, I believe that I have the circumstance to receive some form of aid from my late roommate.
For the past 30 years, I have resided at 123 Fake St. with Ms. Jane Doe. Both Jane and I are 85-year-old single women who do not have any children. Ms. Doe also does not have any living siblings. She and I have always been committed to helping each other; whether it was setting up necessary doctors’ appointments or managing tax information. Ms. Doe began drawing her Social Security benefits 23 years ago, and planned to give me her retirement funds if anything ever happened to her. Unfortunately, Jane recently passed away, and I am ineligible to receive any aid because she was not my spouse.
Currently, the Social Security Administration holds a policy that only allows spouses, dependents or paid caregivers to receive retirement benefits from a deceased loved one. However, as previously stated, Ms. Doe and I are single, without children, and we are not each other’s paid caregivers. I cared for Jane as if she were my sister, and I am most certainly sure that she felt the same way. Because of this, I believe that I am the most deserving individual to receive Ms. Doe’s retirement benefits. This money would not strictly be used to pay for living, medical or funeral expenses. I will donate this money to Jane’s favorite volunteer organizations, including The Dreams of Hope Foundation and The Helping Hands Program.
Even if this message is too late, or if I will not be able to receive any benefits from Jane, my request is that the current Social Security policy be updated or at least reviewed. More people are no longer pursuing marriage, and they are deciding to settle with a non-romantic partner. Changing this policy will allow individuals like myself to use benefits from a long-time friend towards bettering the current society we live in and help those in need. I know this is what Jane would have wanted; she would not be satisfied with her retirement funds going to waste. I hope you consider my situation and allow those who are not in a romantic relationship to be eligible for receiving their partner’s benefits.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
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My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.