TICKER: “I am right here” – Woman mistaken for deceased fights to be considered alive by govt

When Madeline Coburn landed an internship of a lifetime in Ghana, she quickly applied for student loans to help her finance the trip. To her surprise, the student loan company sent her a letter denying her application for a student loan citing that she is deceased according to their records. Coburn frantically went to her school, Webster University, and talked to someone in the financial aid administration. “How could this be? I’m standing right here — you can see me,” she said.

She contacted Social Security and found out she’d been reported dead to the three major credit bureaus in January. Coburn’s life quickly became a nightmare after discovering her ‘death’. “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,” she said . 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.”

Over a course of three months, Coburn traveled to 16 state and federal agencies with the goal to prove her vitality, but no one could help. She’s on disability benefits due to heart disease, but her disability payments stopped coming when the government listed her as deceased. She is unable to purchase healthcare insurance nor her medication. She can’t open a bank account, nor can she acquire a job because companies refuse to hire her once they discover she’s deceased. Although she was able to prove to Social Security that she’s alive, she’s still dead elsewhere. “My life is still a nightmare three years later, after correcting errors with the Social Security Administration,” she said.

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