Oh, it was a bit of a hassle; but I got along fine with the automated lady this time. I pretended to be Cliff when I answered the automated questions, giving his SS number and his mother's maiden name, etc. Then I was transferred immediately to a real person! Oh, the joy!
Now for the bad news. Once I reached the real person, I was informed that Cliff will have to do the calling himself. That means spending about three minutes with the automated person again. At least I can do that part for him; I'll hand him the phone when the real live person answers.
I did learn that since he has his own insurance and isn't on Social Security, he can sign up for Medicare part A, which costs him nothing. Otherwise he'd have to pay $100 or so out of pocket each month.
So I now have some answers.
I believe my problem yesterday with not reaching a real person was that it was a Monday; the automated person told me there's a wait time if you call at the first of the week or the first of the month.
Thank you so much for your helpful comments on this subject, and to Penny for the prayers. Also a special shout-out to a cousin who called and gave me a backup number to use which would connect me immediately to a real person whose name she gave me; I decided not to use it unless I had to, but it's good to know it's here if I need it.
And now to wake Cliff up and give him the good news.