Recently an Ohio judge turned down Donald E. Miller Jr.’s request to be declared alive. Miller, according to the state of Ohio, is legally dead.
Miller was declared dead nearly 20 years ago after he disappeared. His ex-wife, Robin Miller, asked a judge for the declaration after Miller went missing so that her daughters could receive Social Security benefits. Miller, who owed tens of thousands of dollars in child support, and an admitted alcoholic, told the judge this week that he wasn’t dead – he had merely drifted for a number of years.
What brought Miller, er, back from the dead? He wants a driver’s license and needs a valid Social Security number.
If the whole situation feels macabre, it is. It’s also not as unusual as you’d think to be declared dead: nearly 40 people per day are “accidentally” deemed dead by the feds each year. A federal database, nicknamed the “Death Master File” is filled with tens of thousands of Americans reported as dead – much to their surprise. The Death Master File was created in 1980 by the United States Social Security Administration and is better known as the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). The file has a disturbing amount of personally identifying information – including name, dates of birth and death and Social Security Number. And it’s all public information.
One more thing…if you’re wondering if the IRS thinks you are no longer among the living, check out this website: http://ssdmf.info/ I found both of my grandparents, so yeah, it works. I, fortunately, am not ready for the Walking Dead quite yet. –Debra