Woman is trying to prove she’s still alive after being mistakenly declared dead in 2007
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A living, breathing Missouri woman is trying to prove she is still alive after officially being declared as dead.
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.
16 years later, the now 52-year-old can't keep a job because of her 'false' papers and is struggling to obtain a mortgage.
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.
"I laughed. I said, ‘What do you mean? I’m sitting right here. I’ve been at school over a year and a half. … How am I dead? Is this going to affect my international internship?’" Carthen told NBC affiliate KSDK News.
"I just know I'm alive. I don't care what A.I. says or software says, but I'm alive. But it's hard to prove that.
"Well, it got worse, because it wasn’t creditors. Being in the death master file, it went to the IRS, it went to the Department of Homeland Security, it went to E-verify, all of these things. It just started affecting my life."
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.
"Sometimes I can get a job and then within so many months, there’s going to be a problem," she explained.
"So it’s like I can get it and then it’s yanked back from me. But I don’t know when it’s going to be yanked back."
"Here I am still stuck, and nobody can help. I just want answers."
KSDK of St. Louis is now working together with Carthen in the hopes of fixing the issue.
"I don’t know how this is going to work out. I just keep advocating and fighting and when I say fighting, within my spirit. Sometimes I wanna give up but my faith is too strong," she added.
"I don’t care if it takes 20 years, I’m going to still do what I got to do to make this situation right, not just for myself but for others."
UNILAD had contaced SSA for comment.