Millions of dead people have active Social Security numbers, audit finds

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WASHINGTON, DC – Here’s a story that sounds like the “I’m not dead” scene from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Only in this case, most of the people are dead; it’s just that Uncle Sam doesn’t know it.

A new audit by the Social Security Administration’s inspector general found that the agency’s Numident data base system does not have death information on 6.5 million numberholders, age 112 or older.

The audit also found Social Security issued 6.4 million of those numbers before March 1972, forty-three years ago.

And, between the years 2006 and 2011, individuals using 66,920 of those Social Security numbers earned an average of $46,323 dollars in wages, tips, and self-employment income.

That’s about $3.1 billion earned by dead people, or at least people who stole their identities.

The inspector general started its investigation after an unidentified man opened bank accounts using several different Social Security numbers.

Two of those numbers belonged to individuals born in 1869 and 1893, but Social Security’s data base showed both of them were still alive.

The report points out that a New York man died in 2013 at the age of 112. At the time, he was the oldest living man in the world, according to Guinness World Records.

The inspector general’s report also cites the Gerontology Research Group as identifying only 35 individuals in the world reaching the age of 112 in the year 2013.

Someone’s numbers are way off. Any guesses who that might be?


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