Correcting False Death Reports

Every year the Social Security Administration mistakenly includes thousands of people in its Master Death File, a database of dead persons.  The Administration processes death reports from funeral homes, individuals, and government agencies. Mistaken reports can cause emotional distress, damage credit, and harm reputation. Following is a checklist for avoiding mistaken death and remediating damage if it happens.

Avoiding - stay visible (e.g., engage in social media, participate in bar activities, take part in social activities, and publish articles in print and online).
Correcting - contact sources, request retraction, and alert contacts to the mistake. 
Recovering - seek compensation for negligence and intentional harm for egregious situations.
Trailblazing - create a niche practice of helping clients to correct death reports, recover damages, and repair credit.
Detecting - check the Internet (e.g., death files, credit scores, obituaries, search engines, and state records).

Advisory Board, Social Security and the Death Master File, Social Security Administration, June 2019.
Rae Ellen Bichell, Social Security Data Errors Can Turn People Into the Living Dead, NPR Morning
Edition, Aug. 10, 2016.
Staff, How to Find Death Records,, Sep.5, 2022.
Staff, Mistakenly Reported as Deceased, Experian, Apr. 24, 2018.
Staff, What Should I Do If I Am Incorrectly Listed as Deceased In Social Security’s Records?, Social Security Administration, Jul, 26, 2022.
Staff, Understanding IRS Notice for Account Locked Due to Death, IRS, Sep. 5, 2022.


Websites (free credit reports)
Exit Strategy (death planning) (obituary archive)
My Trees (death searches)
Social Security Administration (death information)
U.S. Treasury (deceased taxpayers) (premature obituaries).


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