Oct 31, 2016

Mass Killing By Social Security

     From The News Advance of Lynchburg, VA (emphasis added):
The Luedkes — husband George and wife Ann — had just returned from vacation in late August when they learned the unthinkable.
Ann Luedke was dead, and had been for 12 years, according to the Social Security Administration. Within days, tens of thousands of dollars would be withdrawn from their joint bank accounts by the U.S. Treasury Department — repayment, the federal government reasoned, for Social Security benefits paid to Ann for the three years in which she had been drawing benefits.
“I don’t remember dying,” Ann said, laughing. “I would have noticed.” ...
On Sept. 6, Ann visited the local Social Security Administration office on Timberlake Road and met with an employee who found that Ann was declared deceased. Ann recalled that her record was partially corrected.
The next day, George and Ann visited the local office together. Later the same day, Ann received a voicemail by an employee in the local office informing her that she was among several thousand people affected by a system input error and the Social Security Administration was working on the problem. ...
[Social Security spokesman Daniel O'Connor] said he could not comment on the Luedke case specifically, citing privacy laws.
When speaking of the assertion that several thousand people were erroneously declared deceased, O’Connor referenced an audit conducted by the Office of the Inspector General in 2015 that raised concerns about the accuracy of death records collected by the Social Security Administration.
 The Social Security Administration reached out to five states — including Virginia — to conduct a pilot by which the agency sought to obtain “historical death data” to “further explore filling potential gaps in our records,” O’Connor said. In August 2016, the Social Security Administration posted approximately 40,000 death records from Virginia and two other states in the pilot. While around half of those records reflected true deaths that matched records of the Social Security Administration, it was discovered that some of the remaining 19,000 matches were in error, O’Connor said. ...
     Are you kidding me? Why has there been no public announcement on this? Why no Emergency Message? Did Social Security think no one would notice? Having one's name wrongly added to the Death Master File causes massive problems.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The article suggests that 9,000 people a year are erroneously declared dead, but that a few years ago it was 15,000. So why would they send an Emergency Message about something that has been happening for years (probably many, many years)?

The pilot study information isn't very helpful - they examined 40,000 records, half reflected true deaths and "some of the remaining 19,000 matches were in error"? If the 9,000 total number is correct, people who are alive make up 0.3% of the death list, so that would be about 130 people on a list of 40,000. And 130 is "some" of 19,000. So is 18,000, but they surely can't have a error rate of 45%. So I don't see the point of mentioning the pilot study, except that it seems to have been a waste of money since "the agency does not have an approximate number of people who may have been erroneously declared dead within the pool of 19,000".

Anonymous said...

The agency has gotten away from the mantra of "The right person, the right check, at the right time." It's pathetic. coming up on 20yrs and getting more and more dismayed with agency leadership. And now they are getting all excited about our new "branding" logo and catch phrase - "with you through life's journey".

Anonymous said...

So, SSA goes to the custodian of the death records and gets records from them that turn out to be in error and it's SSA's fault? Charles, no comment about the fact the state custodian of death records has errors in the original documents? If you cannot trust the official custodian, who does one trust?

Anonymous said...

The WP reported this months ago, the agency responded, and has taken aggressive steps to correct these records. Appears you're just late to the party, Charles.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't SSA try to contact someone before just cutting off their check and withdrawing $$ from bank accounts? We know why --although it's the right thing to do, but it would require additional SSA staff time. If you watched the "60 Minutes" show on folks who have been declared dead, in error, you know all kinds of problems ensue, far beyond just a social security check.
It is apparent that this "pilot program" is the reason Ms. Luedke's check was stopped. This goes to show that the death records were not accurately matched with SSA records -- e.g., no SSN on the death record and the match was done based on DOB. It also shows that this match needs to be refined before using it again.

Anonymous said...

I think the article is not very clear on what happened. I guess the 2015 audit "raised concerns about the accuracy of death records" means that it found that some deaths were not recorded. So they conducted a pilot program to find these, which evidently went back at least 12 years and found 40,000 names of people who might have died and not been recorded. So how does SSA determine whether they were dead? I guess someone's brilliant idea was to add those names to the Death Master File, and wait to see how many showed up alive. Bad idea. Apparently, concern about a few people cheating the government led to a lot of innocent people being hurt. That's always going to happen - if you try too hard to reduce one type of error (dead people not on the DMF), you'll increase the opposite error (live people on the DMF).

Anonymous said...

Strangle many actually dead people still vote, mostly Democratic, but still perhaps some people can be dead and not know it?

Anonymous said...

@9:25 yep dead from the head up, voting for the ferret headed cheeto.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, I think she is more of a dishwater blond?

Anonymous said...

Being declared dead by social security can literally ruin your life and make death look good…more respect please!

RevRus said...

This happened to me years ago and it stills hampers my ability to use credit and find a place to live.

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