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Rubio Urges Social Security Administration to Change its Policy, Fix Incorrect Death Records

Sep 2, 2016 | Press Releases

Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has urged the Social Security Administration (SSA) to change its policy so that when it identifies errors in its death records, it notifies those affected and provides them with the opportunity to correct it. In the letter sent to SSA, Rubio also requested that when inaccurate death notifications are sent to other federal agencies, credit bureaus, and individuals’ banks, SSA send a letter to the same entities identifying the notification as an error. This would help save individuals the headache of having to correct the error themselves.
 
Below is the full text of Rubio’s letter to Acting SSA Commissioner Carolyn Colvin calling for this policy change.
 
September 1, 2016
 
Dear Acting Commissioner Colvin:
 
As you know, the state of Florida is home to millions of senior citizens to whom accurate and timely Social Security benefit payment is essential. The financial security of many seniors and their families is often dependent on carefully planned receipt of these benefits based upon the schedule they have been promised by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
 
I am writing to express my concern over recent reports that an SSA pilot program regarding death records incorrectly classified a number of seniors as deceased. This is troubling news for Florida’s seniors because the SSA’s definition of status influences payments from various federal agencies. If this problem were to continue, it will harm many seniors in areas even beyond Social Security benefits.
 
It is my understanding that the SSA plans to rectify this error by mailing the thousands of people potentially affected by the pilot program error in order to correct their records. After receiving notification from the SSA, the potentially affected senior or family would respond to confirm their status. This practice of notification should be the standard operating procedure for all cases of erroneous death records.
 
Additionally, whenever the SSA finds a misclassification in its records, it should notify requisite entities, including federal agencies, credit bureaus, and banks. Therefore, I urge the SSA to make mail notification of erroneous death records its policy for all similar cases throughout its records. Doing so would prevent financial hardship for a substantial number of seniors who rely on these benefits.
 
Please respond to this letter with SSA’s plan to prevent such misclassification in the future. I hope that SSA will work to expediently address this issue for the sake of seniors in Florida and across the country.
 
Sincerely,
 
Marco Rubio
United States Senator