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Missouri woman wrongly declared dead over 15 years ago is still fighting to prove she’s alive

Missouri woman wrongly declared dead over 15 years ago is still fighting to prove she’s alive

Madeline-Michelle Carthen was declared dead 15 years ago and she's still fighting to prove she's alive to this day.

A Missouri woman who was wrongly declared dead more than 15 years ago is still fighting to prove she is still alive to this day.

Madeline-Michelle Carthen, from St. Louis, was looking forward to joining Webster University's intern exchange program, when she received the shock news that her social security number was associated with a deceased person.

In 2023, the now 52-year-old can't keep a job because of her 'false' papers and is struggling to obtain a mortgage.

When Carthen was juggling being a business technology student and a mother to a 13-year-old, she decided to apply for financial aid in 2007.

The officer told her that her social security number was associated with that of a dead person and her application was therefore denied.

After contacting the social security administration (SSA), they informed her that her name was added to a death master file, 'in error', she claims.

Carthen's name was unknowingly added to the Death Master File, an internal database that collects records of deceased people.

Madeline-Michelle Carthen, 52, from St. Louis.

Once someone is added to this database, the IRS, banks and Medicare cancel their existence, with an NBC affiliate site finding 12,000 Americans are wrongfully named as dead each year.

In 2019, Carthen filed a lawsuit against the SSA and other government agencies but it was denied due to sovereign immunity.

Two years later, she claims the SSA gave her a new social security number, and that she legally changed her name from Madeline Coburn.

Sadly, the new number still gets flagged with the old one.

SSA spokesperson Darren Lutz told PEOPLE that while they are 'unable to discuss individual cases due to privacy laws,' they have contacted Carthen 'directly to assist with her case.'

The 52-year-old can't keep a job.

KSDK of St. Louis is now working together with Carthen in the hopes of fixing the issue.

Speaking to People of the struggles she has gone through since being wrongfully declared dead, Carthen said: "I'm in Missouri, but I'm back and forth [between here and Tennessee].

"I had to give up my home. I don't have a place to stay. I can't get a mortgage. I can get a job but I can't keep a job."

In a bid to get it all sorted, Carthen has contacted four different US presidents over the years, only getting a response from Donald Trump.

UNILAD has reached out to the SSA for comment.

Featured Image Credit: KSDK

Topics: News, US News