On February 19, I wrote about the plight of Laura Todd of Nashville, Tennessee. It seems that another woman died in Florida eight years ago, and someone entered Laura's Social Security Number into the death record. The assumption is that it was a simple clerical error. Laura Todd has had problems ever since. You can read that article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/02/being-dead-ruin.html.
MSNBC now says that the problem is much bigger than what I had reported.
It seems that thousands of U.S. citizens have been wrongfully declared dead, due to an average of 35 data input errors per day by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Many other agencies rely on the data provided by the SSA, such as the IRS. People who have been wrongfully declared dead face many problems, such as rejection of tax returns, cancellation of health insurance, and closure of bank accounts. The article states, "Input of an erroneous death entry can lead to benefit termination and result in financial hardship for a beneficiary."
Sadly, getting such an error corrected is very difficult. The hapless victim suffers needlessly because of government red tape. It seems far easier to declare a person's death than to correct the mistake. You can read more at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23378093.