Not Dead Yet

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Thursday, November 25, 2010 - 9:54am

105-year-old woman tangles with Social Security Administration that declared her dead.

At 105-years-old, Gladys Malarkey's social benefits were stopped because the federal government said she was dead, but she is alive and well and we found her case isn't unique.

Over the past 105 years, Malarkey has seen a lot.

She witnessed troops as they were sent to fight in World War One and she even survived a deadly flu outbreak.

"They didn't have penicillin or doctors," she said.

She survived it all.

But it took just a click of the keyboard to take her out.

"On paper they had killed her," said her daughter Beverly Ridge.

The Social Security Administration listed Malarkey as deceased after an investigator went to address of a women with the same last name.

Neighbors told that investigator that Mrs. Malarkey was dead and word of mouth was all they needed to stop Malarkey's Social Security checks.

That sent her bank account hundreds of dollars into the red.

Ridge explained that she had to prove her grandmother was still alive.

"I have a birth certificate all of this paper work I will bring everything," she said.

Malarkey isn't alone.

According to the Identify Theft Resource Center, tens of thousands of Americans have been incorrectly declared dead by the federal government because of misinformation, typos or identity theft.

It can take months, sometimes years, to get the problem fixed.

"He said, 'If she's not dead, we have to resurrect her.' That's what they call it," Ridge said.

Malarkey says Heaven can wait.

And as she turned 105 Tuesday, she says she will keep dancing on.

"People ask what my secret is. All I can say is have love in your heart and a smile on your face," she said.
 

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