CHICAGO — A Northwestern University professor found good news in his mailbox today--a letter from the Social Security Administration saying he is no longer considered dead.
"I hope it's all straightened out," said George Blanksten. "This is the best chance I've had to have it straightened out in a year."
Blanksten, 68, said his troubles began last year when his doctor submitted a bill to Medicare for a routine test. Medicare, administered by Social Security, responded that it could not pay the bill because Blanksten was dead.
Every month since February, the political science professor has sent Medicare the required forms protesting the declaration of death. He said he also visited the Social Security office near his home twice. But it didn't do any good until today.
Blanksten said the letter read, "The Social Security records concerning your date of death have been corrected. . . . We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you."
Carlene Sensenbrenner, manager of a suburban Social Security office, said last week she could not explain why the agency's computers listed an August, 1984, date of death for Blanksten or why it took so long to correct.
"I've been with the agency 20 years and I've never seen a case that's been this troublesome," Sensenbrenner said.