Could you be dead and not even know it? Bounced payments and missing government checks could be one sign that your Social Security number has been put to pasture even if you're still among the living.
About 14,000 people each year are wrongly declared deceased due to data-entry errors at the Social Security Administration, according to a CNNMoney story Wednesday. The government agency shared approximately 2.8 million death records with the Public Death Master File in 2010, but one in 200 records were incorrectly entered. Those fatal errors lead to life-altering stress for thousands of Americans.

Not Dead Yet

Ask Laura Brooks, 52, of Spotsylvania, Va., who -- CNN reports -- found out she was "dead" after her banks accounts were frozen and she stopped receiving her disability checks for a depressive disorder. It took her two months to unwind the bureaucratic mistake, caused by a funeral director mistyping a Social Security number. That typo caused her to lose her only source of income, her disability payments, and accumulate hundreds of dollars in fees for bounced checks.

She's only one of many victims of these mistakes. From May 2007 to April 2010, more than 36,000 people were listed as six feet under when they were still upright, CNN reports.

Being listed as dead has big implications for the undead. Faulty ID information, including Social Security numbers, names, addresses and birth dates, are made public through the Death Master File, putting thousands at risk of identity fraud. The information also is sold to banks and credit bureaus, which means the falsely reported dead often lose their ability to get credit or receive benefits.

"It is unfortunate, but some of the death data that we post to our records ... proves to be wrong and we correct it as soon as possible," Mark Hinkle, a spokesperson for Social Security Administration told CNN. "Usually the error was inadvertently caused because of a human typing error when death information was entered into a computer system."

Related:



Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

506 Comments

Filter by:
Lissa Huang

what's that?????
More from Marshell Green Power CO., LTD, http://www.marshell.net

August 25 2011 at 3:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debbie

I believe the drs get kick backs when this happens

August 23 2011 at 1:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Orlando

OK! So that is an internal error! It can be fixed! How about those that have died and the Social Security checks keep coming and coming and coming! What is being done about that! Please don't tell us it isn't happening...you want a fairy tale answer? "What is good for the goose is good for the gander" Roland C. Woodaka

August 22 2011 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
saiyansurprise

interesting...what about the "disabled" tens of thousands who are arbitrarily denied disability every day?????????????????

August 20 2011 at 5:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sheila1018

Interesting..........what about the "dead" still receiving SS monies???????????????????

August 20 2011 at 1:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sscon4

I WAS RESURECTED FROM THE DEAD AFTER SEVERAL MONTHS, BUT ONLY WHEN I DISCOVERED THAT THERE WERE NSF'S APPEARING IN MY LIFE FOR THE FIRST TIME.

I BELIEVE THAT IT WOULD BE WISE TO TIE THE REGISTRATION OF DEATH, BY AGE, TO SOCIAL SECURITY, IN ORDER TO FLUSH OUT THE PAYMENTS TO THE "REAL" DEAD THAT GO ON FOR YEARS. tHESE RECIPIENTS ARE THE REAL CRIMINALS!

August 20 2011 at 1:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ponz111

Social Security can be very arrogant. If they make a mistake they confound the situation with more mistakes just so they will not have to admit they made the first mistake. I have an appeal in and they put it in "limbo"--no action on my appeal for 8 months. The local office admits they made a mistake and now are trying to correct their mistake by sending social security benefits to the wrong people. This is one governmental agency which needs to be cleaned up--unless my own experience is unique to where I live...

August 20 2011 at 7:13 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
buchan126

It appears that only one-half of the story is in this article. "From May 2007 to April 2010, mroe than 36,000 people were listed as six feet under ...." To me that means that more than 36,000 deceased accounts received Social Security checks and more than 72,000 accounts were screwed up. Whether these "accidents" are in fact errors or deliberate acts of fraud remains to be determined. The last known "address " of the deceased could be the funeral home and the funeral home account. The persons making the "errors" should be liable for damages to the 36,000 people for the losses that result from their carelessness. These errors amount to Identity theft and "involuntary manslaughter" since the people affected are essentially legally dead until and if they can prove otherwise. Bet these "walking dead" still have tax liabilities. The system is broken and needs to be fixed but we can not trust those in charge to know what needs done nor know how to fix what's wrong .

August 19 2011 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mcwhomper

mistakes like that is what has screwed up the whole system i'll bet the money ends up in one of the beauracrats pockets too

August 19 2011 at 3:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Herb

I hope I am not dead today, I most likely wont see any of this money that I have paid into this program.40 years and counting. Giving to people who have not paid into the system is just Wrong, Of course it seems like we dont have much say anymore in the way our country is runned, we can see how well they are doing just look at the last 12 years. All I can ask for is with the money I put in can go towards a computer and a halfway brained person putting info into this computer.I wonder what the costs of fixing this yearly event is, I wonder what the costs of having everything printed in other languages besides english costs us. I wonder if

August 19 2011 at 12:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply