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Jacksonville Man Declared Dead By Social Security

5:41 PM, Feb 15, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  They were married 57 years, Grace and Harles May but on January 22 the union was broken when she died.

"It is bad and it is still bad for me just losing my wife and I've got to go through this," said Harles May.

Three days after his wife's death the social security office declared he was dead for no explained reason.

"I can't get a credit card, nothing, because I'm dead," said May.

The family discovered the problem after his monthly social security check of $1400 was deposited and then removed from his bank account.

"Well today is the 15th and my dad still has no social security, no pension, his credit is still messed up," said Bonnie Smart.

Smart is his daughter.  She said on February 3rd they went to the Jacksonville Social Security office to correct the mistake and thought it was corrected. 

"They wrote on a document that I'm very much alive," said May.

The document said he's alive and his death was input by error, but apparently that did not stop the social security office from sending written notices to his steelworker union pension fund, his medicare health insurance and the credit bureaus declaring his death.

As result all of his benefits were cutoff almost immediately.

"I don't know what's wrong with this shoulder, they want me to have an MRI but I can't get it done without insurance," he said.

The May family knows the social security office is trying to weed out fraud, they know the bureaucracy makes mistakes, but never expected this to happen to them.

"My dad has already died twice, my mama died one in three weeks, we don't need no more something has got to be done," said Smart.

Adding to their frustration is that in spite of their many phone calls and the fact that May showed up in the office to prove he's alive, the social security office has failed to correct this grievous mistake in a timely manner.

"There's no death certificate for my dad, my dad has not passed away and they need to get it straight," said Bonnie Smart.

Patti Patterson, regional communications director, said due to privacy laws she could not discus the specifics of the case.

"We are in touch with him and we have apologized to him," said Patterson, "It is unfortunate that this has happened."

She said it is not that common, but the social security office is now taking immediate actions to correct the mistake.

First Coast News

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