A 73-year-old Sherry Ellis found out she was dead the day after Halloween.
Sherry from Magnolia, Texas, was picking up her prescription from Walgreens when her bank card was declined. She said she knew something was fishy because the card was three months old.
So she went to the bank, and after rounds of phone calls Ellis found out she had been declared dead by the Social Security Administration.
“With my bank card declined everywhere, I can’t get gas, I can’t get money for food, I can’t do anything. I don’t know how long I’d been dead before I found out,” she said.
She takes 10 different medications for blood pressure, a stomach condition and heart issues that can cost up to $1,400 without insurance.
“Medicare says they can’t do anything until SSA resurrects me,” she said.
After hearing that she was declared dead, she travelled to the nearest SSA office to rectify the problem. She was then given a letter that she was alive, but her doctor and pharmacist weren’t able to give her medicines because the systems still reflected her dead.
The SSA said on their website that if someone thinks they’ve been incorrectly listed as deceased they should go to their local office as soon as possible and bring one piece of identification. This can be a passport, driver’s license or health insurance card.
The systems would then take about 45 days to rectify their faults.
Mistaken death declarations lead to mistaken benefit terminations and “cause severe financial hardship and distress” for people.