Rancho Penasquitos Woman Mistakenly Labeled as Deceased by Social Security Office

According to Iris, the woman at Iris’ Social Security office window said their records showed she was dead.

A Rancho Penasquitos woman was shocked when she found out Social Security had mistakenly classified her as “deceased." Proving she was alive was not as easy as you might think. 

“So I went in on Monday, December 5, showed my I.D. and that’s when they told me I was deceased,” Iris Williams said. 

According to Iris, the woman at Iris’ Social Security office window said their records showed she was dead. Iris said she asked how that could happen and couldn’t believe the answer she received. 

“Someone just pushed the wrong button,” Iris said she was told. 

Word of Iris’ demise spread when her health insurance and two credit cards were canceled along with two of her pensions and three other accounts. Iris’ husband even received a letter of condolence. 

“At one place I was already going into probate, at one of the banks,” Iris said. 

She said within a few weeks, Social Security offered an apology and contacted other federal agencies, but one problem still lingered, Iris couldn’t get her Social Security check to deposit into her account. 

“Social Security said the check went to the bank and the bank sent it back,” Iris said. 

This happened for three months, Iris said and even though everyone acknowledged the mistake, Wells Fargo kept rejecting her direct deposit from Social Security. 

That’s when Iris contacted NBC 7 Responds for help. 

“I just hope this is over soon because it’s consumed so much of my time,” Iris said. 

NBC 7 Responds reached out to Wells Fargo and a spokesperson told us the bank was already working on the problem but assured us restoring Iris’ account was a high priority. 

Three months after Iris was miscategorized as dead and within a month after NBC 7 responds contacted Wells Fargo, the bank ironed out the problem allowing Iris to once again receive her Social Security checks. 

A representative with Wells Fargo said Iris’ checks weren’t depositing due to a technical firewall-like process they have in place when people really do die. 

Believe it or not, mistakes like this from the Social Security office can happen. NBC 7 Investigates looked into the issue in 2013. Click here to see that report. 

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