The United States government inadvertently places an estimated 14,000 living people in the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File each year, according to Memphis’s The Commerical Appeal.
The Social Security Administration has admitted that about one in every 200 of the 92 million people indexed in the Death Master File are not, in fact, dead. The agency attributed the majority of these discrepancies to “inadvertent keying errors.”
“Our goal is zero errors, but some errors are unavoidable and we are continuing to make improvements in the death reporting process,” SSA spokesman Dorothy Clark told The Commercial Appeal in an email. “When we learn that we have mistakenly included a living individual’s information in the DMF, we take prompt action to correct our records.”
One such victim of a typographical error is Memphis, Tennessee, resident Amy Duckworth who was added into the Death Master File in January 1980.
“It’s just ludicrous they thought I was dead,” said Duckworth. “I was right [in the Memphis Social Security office] talking to them, but I had to find documents proving that I was alive.”
Duckworth says that she is often refused things like credit cards and car loans because her Social Security number seems to belong to a deceased person.
The Commercial Appeal article includes numerous interviews with people whose Social Security numbers list them as dead. Some take a humorous approach to the topic while others say they’ve been devastated by the error’s effect on their lives.
Why do you think so many Americans are added to the Social Security Administration’s Master Death File in error?
If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.
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