Could you ever imagine being declared dead by the government?
Meet Edward Seagle. This man is very much alive, but to the Social Security Administration—he’s deceased.
“It’s like I don’t exist, you know,” said Seagle.
For months Seagle didn’t exist at all. It started when he was just trying to report his sisters’ death to the Social Security Administration.
“They wanted to know my mother’s maiden name, and all that stuff,” said Seagle. “So I gave them all that stuff, so that they knew they had the right person.”
After meeting with Social Security Administration, Seagle received a notice in the mail.
“We were notified that Edward Seagle passed away. Please accept our condolences for your loss. We are required to send notice that the following benefits will end,” said Seagle, as he read the letter from Social Security.
This cut off his Supplemental Security Income payments, food stamps, and medical coverage. Also his wheelchair, which provides him assistance to travel, has broken down several times.
“The handle here is ready to break off. This thing keeps falling off,” said Seagle. “The tires, the coaster wheels are all shot. They’re read to break off right now.”
Without medical insurance the repairs set for this month have been cancelled.
“They admit that I’m alive. But they can’t change it in the computer. So, they write me a check at the first of the month, but I still can’t have no medical or food stamps,” said Seagle.
Seagle says the payments he received from the government are only enough to cover his rent and other bills from the last two months.
“I haven’t been able to eat hardly ever. I’m borrowing money from friends and stuff,” said Seagle. “It’s just hectic.”
I then decided to call my friends at Safeway and asked if they could help Edward. They jumped at the opportunity to help Seagle and provided him with groceries.
“They came through with a $500 gift card, so now you have enough food until they get this handled,” said I said.
My team and I later met with Seagle and dropped off the groceries and gift card to him.
“Jesse that’s fantastic. That brought tears to my eyes. I was just trying to figure out how we were going to eat dinner tonight,” said Seagle. “Thank you very much.”
Social Security says it did incorrectly call Seagle dead. It just took some time to get the electronic records updated.
DSHS reinstated his benefits and his wheelchair company Numotion are moving forward with making his repairs.