87-Year-Old Brooklyn Woman Mistakenly Declared Dead Gets Benefits Back | us news

87-Year-Old Brooklyn Woman Mistakenly Declared Dead Gets Benefits Back

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

87-Year-Old Brooklyn Woman Declared Dead, Much to Her Surprise.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn woman who said she lost all her health benefits because she was declared dead has gotten her benefits back, CBS2 has learned. Selma Cohen, 87, a thyroid cancer survivor and widow, told WABC-TV that she takes 14 different medications daily and has already had to cancel one doctor’s appointment because of her Medicaid cancellation.An 87-year-old Brooklyn woman found that out when she got a letter from the city’s Bureau of Fraud Investigation saying her Medicaid has been cut off — because she is dead. Her first thought? “You know, maybe it’s a joke or something.” After calling Medicaid, she learned that, in fact, the letter was the result of a computer error.

A rep for City Hall said Saturday night that officials are reviewing Selma’s case. “And if there is an error we will take steps to correct,” a spokeswoman wrote in an email. But without coverage, Cohen cannot pay for doctors’ visits and medication for her cancer treatment. “So I probably won’t get my check this week. The process might take weeks — weeks during which Cohen says she won’t be able to afford doctors’ appointments or pay for her 14 different daily medications. I don’t know if they stopped already my food stamps,” Cohen said. “They’re not going to give me food stamps if I’m dead.” The city said it is looking into Cohen’s case.

Cohen’s name likely appears on the Death Master File (that’s really what it’s called), a national list of more than 86 million Americas run by the Social Security Administration. It all comes down to “keystroke error,” explained cybercrime and identity-theft expert Steven Weisman in an interview with CBS: “Where it is so easy, just a slip of your little finger to kill someone, it’s very difficult to bring someone back to life, and it can be very frustrating.” The error rate is very small (less than one percent), since out of the 2.8 million people who die each year, about 12,000 are mistakenly labeled as dead. It took Rivers five years to be declared legally alive again — and she still has to carry around a letter confirming that she is, indeed, alive and well.

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