Bureaucracies keep telling Margaret Arrighetti she is dead, which is why they thought she didn’t need an income anymore.
But the Staten Island widow keeps denying it, according to CBS 2 News – which is frankly a little rude, on her part.
After all, these people are doing their best to work with her. First, three weeks after her husband died, the 71-year-old Eltingville resident got a letter from her insurance company in May telling her she was dead.
If she didn’t know that already, isn’t it her own fault for not staying abreast of these things? At the very least, she ought to thank her insurers for keeping her in the loop.
The insurance company said it was actually Social Security that figured out she didn’t exist anymore. So she dropped in on some very busy people at the Social Security Administration to dispute what their experts had figured out.
Social Security representatives said they’d declare her alive again – which seems exceptionally generous. But when she went to buy medicine a month later, she found out she was still dead.
So, presumably, the best minds at the agency had quickly looked into the matter, worked out a few advanced algorithms and decided they were right in the first place.
Possible explanation? Arrighetti shared a bank account with her late husband. A Social Security spokesman told CBS 2 that “when a bank puts a death indicator on a joint account, sometimes that covers both parties by mistake.”
Well that’s fair. It’s pretty unusual for longtime couples to have a joint account at all. And then, for one person to die when the other doesn’t – well, that’s so insanely rare, you might as well not even watch for it. In fact, government agencies ought to base more decisions on that kind of data.
Look, a lot of authorities have weighed in on this – a private insurance company, Social Security administrators, a bank. These are very, very important, trusted institutions. If they keep saying she’s dead, why does this grieving widow have to get all pissy about it?
Sure, Arrighetti’s Social Security stipend didn’t get deposited for awhile, and she ended up with $200 in bank overdraft charges because those checks have been her only source of income. And she can’t really afford those overdraft charges because … those checks have been her only source of income.
And her husband just died. Have we mentioned that?
But after reviewing the matter, a Social Security representative delivered one more brilliant policy statement to CBS 2: “In the past, Social Security has not made restitution fees for bank overdrafts.”
And the important thing, after all, is to be consistent.