'Harder to prove that you're alive': Simcoe man fighting to show he's not dead
Published Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:06PM EDT
A Simcoe, Ont. man who several government agencies seem to believe is dead, is actually very much alive.
And while he understands why some find his predicament a bit humorous, proving that he is in fact alive has been anything but.
Walter VanEvery and his wife Sharon are dealing with stacks of documents that indicate he's dead.
But proving to the federal government that he's very much alive has put the couple to the test.
It all started when letters started arriving in early August addressed to 'The Estate of the Late Walter VanEvery.'
"Well, we thought it was a joke until we read that they wanted us to pay them back $145," Walter says.
But that was a minor inconvenience compared to his pension and other government benefits being cut off.
Plus, Sharon adds, "I've got papers to say I'm a widow. I've been a widow since May 1st."
Walter obtained a letter from his doctor, and took it, along with his driver's licence and health card to Service Canada hoping to prove his liveliness.
But it wasn't enough. Instead he was told an official from Service Canada would have to visit Walter in person.
"Now I've got to wait for some guy to come down…to prove that I am alive," he says.
He visited his local MP Diane Finley, and her office is now also pushing to help him get his life back, literally.
But as Finley explains, she has learned the situation needs time to be resolved for two potential reasons.
"One is it's an administrative error, the other possibility is that it's fraud. And it's not difficult to imagine a situation where a fraudster files a false death notice, and then impersonates the victim, so as trying to claim any benefits."
Walter's understanding is that his social insurance number may have been mixed up with a deceased person in May.
But whatever happened, Walter has learned, "It's easy to prove a person dead. But it's ten times harder to prove that you're alive."
- With files from CTV London's Amanda Taccone