On CBS’s 60 Minutes yesterday, they ran a story about the Death Master File of the Social Security Administration. They have dead people who are still on the rolls to receive benefits, and they have very much alive people who have been declared dead by the federal government.
The death benefit for reporting a death to Social Security is $255. That’s what an average funeral cost in 1937, when Social Security was established. The benefit has not kept up with inflation. In this day and age, that’s not much incentive when a funeral and burial can cost $10,000 and up.
Social Security found thousands of people over the age of 112 opening bank accounts. There may actually be ten people actually alive in the United States over the age of 111. Billions of dollars are being paid to dead people – but alive people are cashing the checks. The SSA is working on straightening out the rolls, but they have to rely on less-than-modern reporting methods from the states.
Check out the full story “Dead or Alive” at the CBS website.