A Missouri mum says her life has been completely ruined after she was erroneously declared dead in 2007.
Madeline-Michelle Carthen, 52, said the 20-year-old Social Security mistake has made her life incredibly difficult and has struggled to keep a job or even rent an apartment.
She was even forced to drop out of her course at Webster University after being denied financial aid because of the Social Security number error.
Carthen claimed the mistake “messed up my whole life”, preventing her from getting a mortgage or even rent a car because, according to official records, she happened to share a name with a person who had died.
The 52-year-old learned of the issue while preparing to head to Ghana for summer internship in 2007.
When she applied for financial aid, she received the startling news that she was marked down as deceased on Social Security’s records.
She initially dismissed the issue as a “simple mistake” but over 16 years later, she still has to cope with the “haunting” inaccuracy.
Carthen said she is routinely fired from her jobs after Human Resources are unable to process payroll with her Social Secret number.
She told KSDK: “It’s just a matter before my Social Security number catches up with me, and then they have to let me go … H.R. can’t process payroll.
The Missouri woman’s official papers also mark her down as “deceased” – an issue she shares with the approximately 12,000 American who are erroneously declared dead every year.
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The wrongful categorization is usually the result of small typos which, once processed, are difficult if not impossible to amend.
Once people are placed on the Social Security Administration’s death file, a person’s identity is erased from bank records, the IRS as well as Medicare.
Consumer protection attorney Craighton Cohn said: “It can really impact every single aspect of your life.”
Carthen said that despite her best efforts to get the issue resolved, she has failed to get clear answers on how to fix her papers.
She continued: “I just want direct answers, and I haven’t been able to get that.”
The woman even attempted to sue toe Administration and several government agencies for damages, demanding more than $12 million in compensation.
But her plea was dismissed as the judge overseeing the case ruled that the government has “sovereign immunity.”
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