6.5 Million People with Social Security Numbers Are Older than 112-Truth!

6.5 Million People with Social Security Numbers Are Older than 112 – Truth!

Summary of eRumor:  

An audit found that 6.5 million people with active Social Security numbers would be at least 112 years old if they were still alive.

The Truth:


This one is true.

An audit by the Social Security Administration (SSA) Inspector General found that 6.5 million people who would be at least 112 years old still have active Social Security numbers. 

That’s a problem because The Centenarian, a website that provides statistics and info on aging, estimated that no more than 72,000 people living in the U.S. were older than 100 at the end of 2014. 

The Inspector General audit concluded that the SSA system isn’t able to “annotate death information” on the records of number holders that are much older than reasonable life expectancies. That has led to 6.5 million people who were born before 1901 being considered “alive” by the SSA.

Identity fraud is the main problem with this. The audit found that one man opened two bank accounts using the Social Security numbers of people who were born in 1869 and 1893. Neither of them appeared in the Death Master File because of the glitch, so they were both considered to be alive. 

Thousands more of the Social Security numbers could have also been used to commit identity fraud, according to the report:

“For Tax Years 2006 through 2011, SSA received reports that individuals using 66,920 SSNs had approximately $3.1 billion in wages, tips, and self-employment income. SSA transferred the earnings to the Earnings Suspense File because the employees’ or self-employed individuals’ names on the earnings reports did not match the numberholders’ names.

“During Calendar Years 2008 through 2011, employers made 4,024 E-Verify inquiries using 3,873 SSNs belonging to numberholders born before June 16, 1901.” 

Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), leaders of the committee that oversees the SSA, said in a joint statement that the errors must be corrected:

 “It is incredible that the Social Security Administration in 2015 does not have the technical sophistication to ensure that people they know to be deceased are actually noted as dead,” Johnson said. “This problem has serious consequences. Tens of thousands of these numbers are currently being used to report wages to the Social Security Administration and to the IRS. People are fraudulently, but successfully, applying for jobs and benefits with these numbers. Making sure Social Security cleans up its death master file to prevent future errors and fraud is a good government reform we can all agree on.

“Not only do these types of avoidable errors waste millions of taxpayers’ dollars annually and expose our citizens to identify theft, but they also undermine confidence in our government,” Carper said. “It is simply unacceptable that our nation’s database of Social Security numbers of supposedly living people includes more than six and a half million people who are older than 112 years of age, with a few thousand having birth dates from before the Civil War.  Preventing agency errors by keeping track of who has died is a relatively simple problem that the government should pursue as a high priority.”