Letter to the Editor: Disregard for Dignity of Seniors Needs to Stop


Since we moved mom in with us several years ago, we have been filing her taxes for her. This year, for the first time, we were required to show proof of her identity.

I went online and downloaded images of the required documents. Her driver's license was no longer valid, so I took her into the DMV and got her a state issued ID card.

Everything was provided they asked for and I thought we were done. But, I was informed that we needed to do a face to face with VerifyID and that all we needed was to show them the documents (which I had already downloaded and submitted online).

We had everything ready when they insisted mom be brought in front of my (computer) camera to be interviewed. I got her out of bed in her pajamas and the interrogation began. Mom is almost 98 years old and they asked her to recite her street address and her P.O. box. She could not hear them so I repeated the question to her; for this I was accused of answering for her. I explained to them that she could not hear the question and that she could not recite our address anyway (but she was able to tell them she lived with us in Mossyrock).

That was enough for them to terminate the call and refuse to give her clearance to receive her tax refund. Next, I was advised to go online (again) to schedule an appointment at the nearest "taxpayer assistance center."

I called them at 7:30 the next morning so that I could get through to them early. But no, I got a recording that due to high volume of calls, they could not take my call. There was no opportunity to leave a call back number or be placed on hold until someone could help. The recording instructed me to again go online and call the individual taxpayer assistance center located near me. I looked up the number for the Olympia office and it was the same number with the same recording!

In fact, every taxpayer assistance center was listed with the same number and the same recording saying they could not take calls. My mother has led a productive life as a microbiologist for the city of Seattle and she volunteered much of her free time (ironically) preparing taxes for seniors and transcribing books into braille for the library for the blind. She does not deserve the humiliation she was put through.

If this is standard protocol for VerifyID, how many other seniors are getting this treatment? This disregard for the dignity of our seniors and their caretakers needs to stop. 


Margie Miller

Lewis County