Nashville woman mistakenly declared dead by federal government

Deressa Marshall
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Nashville woman who beat breast cancer called News 2 for help after she had been killed by the federal government.

The Social Security Administration reported that she was deceased even though she was very much alive.

Deressa Marshall, 54, got a call from her son two days ago asking if she was okay. He told her that her life insurance company called and said his mother was dead and wanted to pay out the claim.

“I thought it was a scam,” said Marshall. “So I called my life insurance company.”

According to Marshall, they told her the Social Security Administration had reported that she was deceased. So, she went to the social security office at MetroCenter to investigate.

“When the woman checked I could see on her face that they did have me as being deceased in the system,” explained Marshall.

Social Security Administration
(Photo: WKRN)

Even though Marshall produced her state-issued I.D. and social security card, the clerk told her she needed her birth certificate.

“By then I was furious because I felt like I was getting the runaround,” Marshall said.

She then decided to call News 2, and we did some digging.

Social Security Administration spokeswoman Patti Patterson said that while it is rare, sometimes living people are reported dead to the federal government.

“It sometimes happens when the wrong social security number or name is reported or sometimes it’s an entry error,” Patterson told News 2.

While she wouldn’t comment on Marshall’s case specifically, Patterson said the Social Security Administration is working to resolve the issue.

She also wouldn’t comment on why Marshall needed her birth certificate but said, “If you are accidentally reported dead by social security, a state-issued I.D. should clear up the issue.”

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