Woman gets letter saying she's dead

Shirley Beaver may lose Social Security benefits

PITTSFIELD, Maine - Shirley Beaver was left stunned and confused when she received a letter offering condolences for the death of Shirley Beaver.

"I said 'Holy moly! Am I here?'" Beaver told WGME-TV. "I couldn't believe it."

The letter came from Beaver's insurance company. At first, it seemed like a funny mishap.

"I told my son 'I"m dead!'" Beaver said. "He said 'What?' I said 'I'm dead.' He says 'How can you be dead when you're here?' I said 'Read this letter.'"

However, Beaver quickly discovered the terrible consequences of this mistake. Since Beaver was declared dead, she no longer had insurance. When she tried to purchase her medicine, Beaver was told she would have to pay full price.

"I would have to pay over a thousand dollars," Beaver said.

The death declaration also meant Beaver might not receive her Social Security check in time to pay her bills.

The Social Security Administration says of the 2 million death notices issued each year, 99.9% of them are accurate. In cases like Beaver's, local offices can fix the problem in about two days.

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