WILMINGTON, Del. - A woman who had been dead for nearly 20 years continued to receive pension checks from the treasurer’s office in Wilmington, Delaware, that amounted to nearly $73,000, The News Journal reported.
According to a city audit obtained by the newspaper, the unnamed pensioner received spousal benefits from June 1974 until she died in November 1997. But the city continued to send money to her account by direct deposit until officials learned of her passing in June 2016, the newspaper reported.
Over two decades, the city of Wilmington paid the deceased woman $72,966.60.
“It’s an extremely unusual occurrence,” city treasurer Velda Jones-Potter told the News Journal..
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The city has relied on a third-party vendor that cross-checked employee and pensioner information with death records and Social Security data on a semiannual basis, the News Journal reported. Jones-Potter said this petitioner's passing did not come up in those searches because it was not documented in Social Security records.
“In this case, it's apparent that her death was not reported until many years after it occurred," she said.
When the treasurer's office learned about the death, the city immediately stopped payments, Jones-Potter told the News Journal. But she does not know if the city will get its money back.
“It’s in the law department’s hands at this time,” Jones-Potter said.
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