Happy Birthday! … You’re Dead!

What happens when there is a computer glitch at intersection of government and humanity? Let me recount my experience. It’s not fiction. It’s true.

But first, some background.  When my ex-husband died (unexpectedly), I went to Social Security with his death certificate, to determine my benefit — if any. This is where my tale begins!

Coincidentally on my birthday it started.  Money was mysteriously removed from my bank account … without explanation.  Credit card transactions were denied, checks bounced.

happy birthday (2)And I received letters addressed to the “Estate of …” Are you laughing? I was not. The anticipation of getting the mail turned into dread…I was NOT dead!  But everyone seemed to think so.

It turned out that Social Security had (instead of adjusting my benefit) sent out a broadcast notice that I had expired, and clawed back prior benefit paid to me. After all, I was deceased!  Getting my life back was significantly more difficult and time consuming.  While the kind folks at Social Security were working to remedy the problem in their system, it was my responsibility to provide proof that I was alive.  In most cases it required notarized letters, many phone calls and a letter that Social Security gave me.

Fast forward… It’s been months and I thought everything was back in order … until today when I discovered that part of my bank account was still blocked.  As I said to the customer service person, I am not dead!

One closing note.  I found the Social Security people empathetic, kind and helpful.

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