Being declared dead by SSA is inconvenient and problematic

  Terry Katz & Associates  |  May 7, 2015  | Last modified on October 17th, 2018 | 

There’s a scene from the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” in which an old man, having been slung over the shoulder of another man, cries out, “I’m not dead yet!” Most people who have seen this part of the movie laugh because it should be obvious to anyone that the man is clearly alive — moving, talking and even ready to “go for a walk.”

But while we might laugh at this, there have been people in our country, perhaps even here in New York, who have been mistakenly declared dead by the Social Security Administration. But despite being able to walk and talk — which should be proof enough that a person is alive and not, in fact, dead — correcting the error can take a lot of convincing as well as a lot of time.

From the case of the 78-year-old California woman who lost her retirement benefits to the 52-year-old Virginia woman whose disability benefits were terminated, our Westbury readers can see the problems that can arise when the Social Security Administration mistakenly reports you dead. Not only does it result in an immediate cancellation of your bank accounts — among other things — the mix-up also results in a termination of your Social Security benefits, which can also include SSDI and SSI benefits.

Because the people receiving these benefits are typically relying on them to provide financial support, it’s incredibly important for them to correct this error as quickly as possible. But as anyone here in New York can see from the two cases above, those who are mistakenly declared dead need to present considerable evidence as well as wait for SSA to complete its investigation into the matter before benefits are reinstated. Sometimes, it can take years before benefits are restored, which was the case for the 52-year-old Virginia woman.

Even though this mistake only happens to a small portion of the population — roughly 9,000 people according to recent sources — the inconvenience it causes people is substantial and may lead someone to seek help from a skilled lawyer who is knowledgeable in the Social Security system. Here at Terry Katz & Associates, P.C. we have that knowledge and can work with you to correct whatever mistake caused you to lose your disability benefits.

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