May 25, 2018

111-Year-Old Lucy Mirigian Forced To Prove To The U.S. Government That She Is, In Fact, Still Alive

Lucy Mirigian.

A sharp and feisty 111-year-old San Francisco resident who recently learned yet another new lesson in life:

It ain't easy convincing the U.S. Government that you are alive.
When the U.S. Government thinks you are dead.

According to this must read, heartwarming article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lucy's 'hell no, I'm not dead odyssey' began last November.  You see, Lucy is retired from the United States Mint, and receives a  small federal pension of $377.26 a month.  In November, the government agency that administers her federal pension decided that Lucy was dead because she had not returned a form letter saying she wasn’t.

111-year-old Lucy Mirigian in her home on May 2, 2018.
Photo credit:  Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

And the agency - the Office of Personnel Management - cancelled her monthly pension payment, and notified her that her health insurance would be cancelled, too.

Problem is, Lucy never received such a form letter.

And she was very much alive.

But proving so to the Federal Government turned into a nightmare-of-an-odyssey for Lucy, her daughter, and her son-in-law.

Letters and phone calls were made, yet the OPM continued to believe that Lucy was dead. It took a trip to the local office of Rep. Jackie Speier, and intervention from Speier's staffers, to solve the problem.

In other words, help from a federally elected official was needed to convince a govermennt agency that a person was in fact alive, and not dead.  

Crazy, huh?  Geesh, couldn't a simple phone call from OPM to Lucy have solved the problem?! 

But Lucy is not bitter. Au contraire.  Here pension payments are up-to-date, her health insurance is in force. What's next for Lucy in her grand life?

A vacation to Calistoga. And perhaps a cruise. Which would be Lucy's 44th cruise!

Government bureaucracy at its finest.  But in this instance, it's feisty 111-year-old Lucy Mirigian as the victor!  Lucy 1, United States Government 0.
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit

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