Government Typos 'Kill' Thousands

People very much alive struggle to convince Social Security they're alive
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2008 9:08 AM CST
Social Security admits there are problems with its database, but there is far more documentation involved in 'resurrecting' somebody wrongly declared dead than there is in declaring them dead in the first...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – It's not easy being dead—just ask Laura Todd. The Tennessee woman is one of an estimated 12,000 people a year the government declares dead—often because of a typo in the Social Security database—when they're still very much alive, MSNBC reports. The error can create a financial mess and is just shy of impossible to correct.

"I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to be dead when you’re not," said Todd. She can't get her Social Security check or her tax rebate, and her health insurance and credit cards have been canceled. An internal audit found that it's much more difficult to fix the problem than to create it. "Deaths were not always verified before SSI payments were stopped," it said.