Social security mistakes

Even if you don't know Michael Riley –one thing that's clear. He's not dead. We found him at home in Medford–not in the cemetery.

Michael Riley, Not Dead

"I'm alive and well."

Robert Naper, too. We found him in Canton: also, indisputably alive.

Robert Naper, Not Dead

"No, definitely not dead."

But according to social security records we found, Michael and Robert are deceased!

Michael Riley,Not Dead

"I couldn't believe it was happening to me, you know?".

They're alive–but by mistake–listed as "dead" in the social security administration's list of names and social security numbers of dead people. And we found this grave error has happened to hundreds of other Massachusetts residents!


"These people are alive!"

Atty. Steve Weisman, Financial Expert

"Frankly I'm horrified "

Talk about horrifying. If you’re mistakenly on this list, it's a ticking time bomb for your finances!

Atty. Steve Weisman, Financial Expert

"They don't find out until they go to their bank that they can't access their funds. They don't find out until there is no social security check that they have been declared dead."

As Robert found out –dead people can't get credit cards–A department store clerk told him his credit application was DOA.

Robert Naper, Not Dead

"I was denied."



Robert Naper, Not Dead

"They said I didn't exist."

And Michael found out dead people can't work. The social security deductions on his paychecks were rejected!

Michael Riley, Not Dead

"It's funny in the beginning, alright, but then after awhile it’s not funny and more, it’s frustrating."

Social security officials admit 14,000 live people are mistakenly killed off nationwide each year! The agency wouldn't talk about it on camera, but explained it happens when social security employees make typos inputting social security numbers of people who ARE dead..

And Massachusetts has one of the highest error rates in the country! Though a majority of states use a new federal electronic system that catches mistakes–Massachusetts does not–and we found, won't for years! The result–even more Bay Staters will become walking dead!

And that's the beginning of another nightmare. It took Robert and Michael *years*–and piles of paperwork– just to prove they're alive.

Michael Riley, Not Dead

"One little key punch error.. You know, it just devastates people's lives."

Could you be dead right now? The Social Security Administration does not provide online access to the Death Master File (DMF), however it is public information. There’s several ways you can check to see if you’re on the DMF:

1. Call your local Social Security Office and ask them. This is a link to find your closest Social Security office:

2. By law Massachusetts residents are allowed one free copy of their credit report each year, your credit report would reflect if you were on the DMF.

3. Many genealogy websites buy an up to date DMF and provide online access as part of their service, there’s often a small fee for this. (Try Googling: “check death records by social security number”.)

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