`My life is still a nightmare'
`My life is still a nightmare'
Name: Madeline Coburn
Declared dead: Jan. 2007
Age: 40

I was a student at Webster University and was selected to go to Ghana as part of an international business intern exchange program. When I applied for financial aid, in 2007, I got a letter back saying I had been denied -- because I had died.

I talked to someone at my university and said: `How could this be? I'm standing right here -- you can see me.' And I found out from Social Security that I had been reported dead to the credit bureaus in January.

Apparently, a mysterious phone call had been made on my behalf, saying that I had died, and that my attorney would be handling all of my assets.

Soon after I found out about this, my bank account was closed and my balance was sold to a third-party collections agency. My school wouldn't even let me graduate. They said I couldn't continue classes until I got this identity thing figured out.

I'm on disability benefits for a heart disease, so when Social Security listed me as dead, my disability payments stopped coming. They eventually resumed when I proved to them I was alive, but I'm still dead everywhere else.

My life is still a nightmare three years later, after correcting errors with the Social Security Administration. I am disabled with no health care insurance and could not purchase my heart and blood pressure medicine.

I can't open a bank account in my name, and I couldn't renew my driver's license until I had someone come into the police station and vouch for me. I can't even get a full-time job to bring in money because no one will hire me once they find out I'm dead.

Last updated August 24 2011: 2:27 PM ET

When the Social Security Administration erroneously declares you dead, it can be a financial -- and psychological -- nightmare to revive yourself.

Find Homes for sale
  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
    New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
    Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Most Popular

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.