The Plight Of The Living Dead : Planet Money The Death Master File is a list kept by the government. It keeps track of everyone who has died. But what happens when you end up on the list while you're still alive?
NPR logo The Plight Of The Living Dead

The Plight Of The Living Dead

For the U.S. government, keeping track of who's alive and who's not is important. There are after all a lot of benefits associated with being alive — Medicare, Social Security benefits, voting. But the system for confirming who's actually dead is far from foolproof.

Each year thousands of living people are accidentally added to the government's Death Master File — the list of everyone who's ever died. And that can have wide-ranging effects on a person's life and livelihood. Today on The Indicator: what happens when the reports of your death are greatly exaggerated... and also on an official government document.

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