Declared deceased by Social Security
Your June 25 editorial relates to an unfortunate situation happening to me. Due to a medical condition requiring doctor intervention, I learned that Social Security declared me "deceased" on May 25.
I found the Teachers' Retirement System had been informed of my death, my prescription drug benefit would not honor a prescription, and the "trickle down" of government had thus begun. My husband has received condolence letters from both these agencies.
In your editorial about Kane County "not properly reporting DUI convictions to state authorities" you make the case that there are lessons to be learned. You state: "The first and most urgent is that government departments need functional electronic tools and people who know how to use them." Computers are amazing instruments, saving untold amounts of time, energy, and important data but are subject to the "a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link" axiom.
I was told at Social Security, where I was instructed to appear with a picture ID to prove I am not deceased, that this happens with some frequency and is usually a clerical error. According to the agent who assisted me at the Woodridge office and changed my status from deceased to retired, there is no backup within the system to avoid this happening, and there is no way that the Social Security system can give me any idea of when, or for that matter, any assurance that it has, corrected the problem. Thus we are all at the mercy of a huge bureaucracy muddling along with buggy whip technology and inadequate training.
While I know this letter will not make a difference in how the system operates, it should serve as warning to have your pharmacy or doctor's office check your status periodically. You can avoid being blindsided by such an occurrence.
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