America's Accidental Non-Persons

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I am well aware that government is staffed by error-prone humans: I've been "informed" of tax debts and ended up collecting. Back in the Navy, I "discovered" I was a resident of a state in which I'd never stepped foot -- Nebraska. Those little glitches were caused by a Social Security number (SSN) somewhere in my pay records being off by a single digit. With that episode far from my mind, curiosity recently induced me to click a news link about "What It's Like to Be Declared Dead by the Government". Upon reading the below, my reaction was something like, "Oh, boy!" I guess I'd better bone up...

[Judy] Rivers' plight as a falsely-categorized deceased person is not singular: it is estimated that every year, some 12,200 very much alive U.S. citizens are declared dead by the Social Security Administration due to "keystroke errors." Those affected ... become a walking dead, unable to secure a job, make financial transactions, file taxes, or visit the doctor -- and for months on end, must endure the nightmare of convincing a large bureaucracy that they haven't yet bit the dust. [link dropped, bold added]
Upon reading this and other examples of what the dynamic duo of human error (or power-lust) and decades of popular acquiescence to government meddling can mete out, I'd advise anyone else to do the same. (Should I have mentioned that the Social Security Administration will refuse to make up any missed checks, or that, while you're unable to use your own SSN, identity thieves may well be racking up debt in your name?)

Who ever knew "non-persons" could so easily happen by accident -- and here no less?

-- CAV 

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