ORLANDO, Fla. - A local veteran called Action 9 after the Social Security Administration declared him dead, not once but twice.
For the past nine months, Roland Banks has been fighting to end a financial nightmare that wrecked his good credit.
Action 9's Todd Ulrich tracked down how it happened and got results that should turn Banks' life around.
Banks is a volunteer property manager at his church, very active for a man who is supposed to be dead.
“You look real good for a guy who's died twice,” said Ulrich.
“Well thank you,” said Banks jovially.
In July, Banks' Social Security, pension and veterans benefits checks stopped all at once. He then discovered the Social Security Administration had recorded his death and notified other agencies.
“Social Security told me that a funeral director in North Carolina reported me as deceased.” According to Banks, it took 3 months to convince the agency he was very much alive and to resume his benefits but that wasn’t the end of it.
“They declared you dead a second time?” asked Ulrich.
“That's right,” replied Banks. “In November, just before a cruise and bam. I'm dead again.”
There’s a long paper trail from federal agencies, credit bureaus and banks documenting Banks' struggle to get his life and benefits back.
Nine months later and it's still a mess. He's missing months of veterans benefit checks. The credit bureaus still consider him deceased and while Social Security finally gave him his life back, they want money back.
“Social Security wants money from me. They said they overpaid me trying to get this resolved,” said Banks.
Within days of Action 9 contacting the agency, Social Security said Banks’ problems are now being resolved.
“Are you worried they could knock you off again?” asked Ulrich.
“Oh absolutely, absolutely. I just don't know when,” replied Banks.
The first time it happened, Banks contacted his congressman, Richard Nugent. It helped restore his benefits the first time.