Social Security Administration Mislabeling People as Dead
60 Minutes released a report a few months ago concerning individuals who were incorrectly reported as dead to the Social Security Administration. The government agency keeps a Death Master File compiled from information submitted by funeral homes, doctors and hospitals, but this information is not always accurate and certainly subject to human error. The social security administration estimates that roughly 9,000 individuals are incorrectly labeled as deceased every year, which can cause serious problems to the people unfortunate enough to be on that list, but not actually deceased.
If you find yourself on the Death Master File, it effectively means that as far as the government is concerned you no longer exist. Your social security number is rendered invalid, and you no longer qualify for Medicare or social security. Government agencies such as the IRS and law enforcement are also affected, meaning that you can be labeled as an identity thief simply for trying to use your own credit cards. In addition to all of this, the Death Master File is used by banks and credit reporting agencies, which means that you may never be able to get another bank account or loan in your life.
According to the 60 Minutes report, one woman was locked out of her bank accounts, which essentially threw her $80,000 balance into limbo and forced her to live in her car for six months, as she was unable to rent an apartment. Attempts to correct this issue are often numerous and fruitless. The same woman attempted to correct an error with just one credit agency, and had to report the same information over twenty times simply to get them to consider correcting the error.
Doucet & Associates regularly works with our clients to correct errors on mortgages and credit reports, and is willing to evaluate your options if you have fallen victim to this bureaucratic error. If you have been incorrectly labeled as deceased by a credit reporting agency, or would like any other credit reporting error rectified, call us at (614) 944-5219. We may be able to help, and may be able to secure compensation or damages if this has happened to you.
If you would like to read the 60 Minutes report referenced, please click the following link: