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I'm not dead!

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

September 17, 2008

COLQUITT COUNTY, GA (WALB) - A Moultrie woman says she's out of money and medicine because of a horrible mix-up.

For years she's received benefits from the Social Security Administration. Those benefits ended two weeks ago because the government thinks she's dead. Now she's having a hard time proving what seems obvious-- that she's still alive and kicking.

"I told them I am that person, Norma Jean Johnson. I'm not dead! Why won't you believe me?," said Norma Jean Johnson with frustration Wednesday afternoon. 

Johnson has been insisting she's alive for the past two weeks. That quest to prove her life started with a trip to the bank. "They said your check hasn't come in and I said 'why?' They said 'we don't know'," said Johnson.

Since the bank didn't know, she went to the Social Security Administration office in Moultrie.

"They said we have it on our computer that you're deceased as of July 5th this year," said Johnson. As she sat there alive, she was shocked to hear of that death. She was even more shocked to hear her benefits stopped as of August 15th because of it.

"You know like that movie "It's A Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart? Jimmy Stewart said I wish I'd never been born? And then when he went back home no one knew him? Well that's the way it felt you know," said Johnson.

Johnson showed them her driver's license. "They still didn't believe me," said Johnson.

She also showed us the same.  Sure enough, she's pictured there with her name underneath. She also showed SSA her birth certificate.

"They just said they were going to investigate and here it's been two weeks now and I still haven't gotten any letter from Social Security," said Johnson.

There's still no letter and still no money. "Oh I almost had a nervous breakdown worrying. What am I going to do? How am I going to pay my bills?," said Johnson.

Johnson also wonders how she'll afford expensive medications. "If I don't take my medicine, I will die," said Johnson. But according to them, she's already dead.

"If I died, I don't remember anything," said Johnson, "I don't remember coming back. I don't remember nothing. Am I a spirit walking around?" For now, her spirit won't allow her to just sit back and wait.

"I'm just going to keep going back down there," said Johnson. Until the matter is resolved, a so-called dead woman will be making a weekly appearance at Social Security.

We contacted the Social Security Administration in Atlanta about Johnson's benefits. They say mix-ups are rare. They wouldn't talk specifically about Johnson's case but they did tell us they'll get in contact with her and resolve the issue.  

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