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Woman dies when Social Security payments mistakenly end

People who depend on Social Security benefits usually rely on this income for all of their basic needs. If their Social Security coverage is delayed for some reason, this can have real life implications, and can sometimes even be devastating for the individual who desperately needs this money.

An 111-year-old elderly woman was one such recipient. She relied on Social Security benefits in order to survive. Those benefits mysteriously and without explanation suddenly ended approximately one month ago, leaving her without the ability to pay for her home health care expenses. The Social Security Administration (SSA) pulled her status as an eligible recipient of Social Security benefits, apparently because they mistakenly believed that she had died.

Sadly, she did die less than one month later, just prior to her turning 112. Relatives believe that it was the lack of home health care benefits provided for by Social Security that eventually lead to her death.

As the family was to discover, it is extremely difficult when trying to deal with the SSA. Before the SSA would reinstate her coverage, they demanded to see a birth certificate from her mother who had been born on a Greek island, even though this woman was entitled to receive benefits as a U.S. citizen herself.

Because of the obvious difficulties raised with such a request, along with the fact this woman had difficulty speaking English herself, she was not able to satisfy the SSA's demands. By the time the family realized they needed help, it was too late, and this woman died.

Some are still attempting to figure out exactly what went wrong in this case so that others do not have to deal with this type of stressful situation battling the SSA at the end of their lifetime.

Although this case involved Social Security retirement benefits, the issues are just as critical as if she was receiving disability benefits. If the SSA is flagging a person's file and therefore stopping the disability benefits until the issue is resolved, it could leave a person with illness or disability without much-needed funds.

Source: Idaho State Journal, "'They cut her off': Social Security, Medicare quit paying 111-year-old before she died," Michael H. O'Donnell, March 11, 2012

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