General Question

canidmajor's avatar

How does one reinstate their “living” status if they were wrongfully declared dead?

Asked by canidmajor (18499points) February 14th, 2020

This is a serious question.

I know this happens on occasion, and I am wondering what steps one would have to take to prove to the government that they are not deceased. Does anyone here actually know?

I know it is rare and unlikely, but I am in the somewhat unique position of having to recognize that this may be a possibility I would have to deal with when my mother dies.

General question.


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20 Answers

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Patty_Melt's avatar

I can’t help you except to say it is a frustrating process. My grandma was born in a farmhouse.
At some point in her elder years, probably applying for SS, she was told she did not exist, since no certificate could be found. I just remember hearing her talk about the stupidity, and they suggested she have her mother sign some paperwork.
Some states may be better than others at clearing the erroneous status.

janbb's avatar

I would guess you bring all your current I.D, papers to a notary public and include utility bills and paid property tax bills. Then you can take them to the lawyer who is executing the will.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Up here it was easy I don’t know why but election Canada thought I was dead about 25years ago, I was kinda shocked but I told them as long as revenue Canada thinks the same I was ok with it.
Elections Canada fixed it in under a minute on the computer, but never could tell me why they thought I was dead.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Three years ago when we did the online income taxes, we couldn’t complete it. The page said I was dead.Checked with the tax company showed me a dead and they got the info from Social Security.

SS didn’t know anything about me being dead; I sat in SS for 2 hours to see someone to find that out.

Turns out the file the income tax company was using was “Corrupted File” and we received an apology three weeks later so we finally file our taxes !

canidmajor's avatar

I had a lot of trouble with SS and Medicare because they thought I already had them. Apparently, if you have an unusual name no one looks at the actual numbers. I’ve had bank accounts canceled and problems with credit cards, and lost my Costco membership once because I share her name.
She’s 96 and I’m starting to get a bit concerned.
Sounds like I need to start an “I’m still kicking!” file just in case.

Thanks guys, I’m feeling a little better here.

JLeslie's avatar

This is my somewhat educated GUESS. I think if the federal government thinks you are dead it is a nightmare to fix, but I don’t know for sure. When my aunt died, within days all of her accounts were frozen. Bank accounts, credit cards, everything. I would guess you just need to prove who are you. Passport, mail addressed to you, birth certificate, SS card, etc., same as when you get your Driver’s license with he star for TSA. Then the government eventually reverses it. Once they reverse it you will forever more have to go through some hoops when you do things related to the IRS and credit. My FIL deals with these hoops, because someone else was using his SS number.

Why are you worried about your mom; there are lots of older Americans. Maybe the government will eventually check older people in some sort of systematic way to make sure they are still alive, but I don’t think they would just stop paying and cut everything off without an inquiry.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Late Great Grandmother had no birth certificate so her mother and or friend signed a declaration of birth and name etc..all worked out in the end and she received her SS retirement OK after that.

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie I’m not worried about my mom, I’m worried that when she dies I will also be erased. Like I said, in the past when she has closed accounts or ended memberships or stuff, and the name comes up on someone’s computer, if the name is unusual, they don’t bother to check the numbers, they just wipe it all out.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor Oh, you both have the same name.

Edit: My husband had his dad’s info on his credit report at one point, they had the same name and address.

Just because the credit reports screw it up, doesn’t mean the federal government will screw it up though. It’s all different agencies.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

In the age of computers you wouldn’t think having the same name would be a problem, but I remember a while back this couple was banned from flying because their infant son was on the no fly list, and as I remember it was a nightmare for them to get it corrected.
And at the time the authorities couldn’t look past that it had to be a mistake, the baby was on a no fly list so he was banned, how is that for intelligence?

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie Like I said, they tried to deny me Social Security and Medicare because of that. The federal government already has screwed it up. Many hoops were jumped through to get that straightened out.

@SQUEEKY2 well, I know I live in fear of weaponized babies!! Hahaha

The thing about the names is that they check carefully if the names are ordinary, but the clerks doing the data entry just don’t seem to bother for the unusual names, especially if women have the unusual names.
And heaven forbid you have an ethnic sounding name and you are a POC!

Zaku's avatar

I’d first consider whether I wanted to be legally alive or not. Being considered dead by the information authorities might have some interesting advantages.

Assuming I decided not to embrace that state, I’d start by talking to a lawyer.

canidmajor's avatar

@Zaku, I’d definitely want to be officially alive, no question. I have actually thought about this. :-)

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JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor I guess you’ll just have to wait and see if they screw it up when the time comes. There is probably no way to guard against it.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, I am encouraged by some of the suggestions above, being prepared for the possibilities of such a thing seems prudent.

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