Fayetteville woman declared dead despite being very much alive, loses insurance and work benefits

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Friday, July 22, 2022
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A Fayetteville woman--who is alive and well--had her insurance and employment benefits suspended because the Social Security Administration informed her employer that she was dead.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Fayetteville woman was declared dead, despite being alive and well. That woman is Angela Faircloth

"I was kind of like shocked. Don't you need to see a death certificate?" Faircloth, who is alive and well, said. She couldn't believe it in March when she received a letter in her mailbox from her employer.

"'We're sorry to hear about her passing,'" her fiancé Jerry Scott recalls reading from the letter. "I was like, wow!"

In the letter, Faircloth's company said it had been informed by the Social Security Administration that Faircloth passed away.

Since the Social Security Administration claimed she had passed away, her insurance and benefits came to a halt.

"She didn't get her check on the first of June...so we called the bank, the bank said (Social Security Administration) had a hold and she had lost everything: insurance, all her benefits, all the way to her credit score," Scott said.

The couple then contacted the Social Security Administration to get this fixed, but couldn't get an appointment for a month. They said they were not able to wait that long to go without benefits, so they got in touch with Troubleshooter Diane Wilson who got in contact with SSA.

A representative with SSA provided this statement:

"Approximately 2.9 million deaths are reported to the Social Security Administration each year and our records are highly accurate. Of these millions of death reports we receive each year, less than one-third of 1 percent are subsequently corrected. Deaths are reported to Social Security primarily from the States, but also from family members, funeral homes, and financial institutions. If a person suspects that they have been incorrectly listed as deceased on their Social Security record, they should contact their local Social Security office as soon as possible. They can locate their nearest Social Security office at https://www.ssa.gov/agency/contact/. They should be prepared to bring at least one piece of current (not expired) original form of identification. Part of the process of correcting records includes ensuring all current and past due benefits are paid. Social Security takes immediate action to correct our records and we can provide a letter that the error has been corrected that can be shared with other organizations."

The same day Wilson reached out to SSA, Scott got a call back from the group.

"The same day that you contacted them they contacted us. The actual supervisor of the Social Security Administration of the Fayetteville office said get down here immediately as soon as you get a chance," Scott recalled.

Faircloth did just that and the mistake was corrected, she is no longer considered deceased.

"Thank you; just have no idea how thankful we are for you," she said.

This is a great reminder as soon as you get an email or letter claiming something is not true. Don't ignore it, take action to get it fixed right away.