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City paid nearly $73,000 in spousal benefits to dead woman

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WILMINGTON, Del. — A city has been paying spousal benefits to a dead woman for 20 years.

The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, reported Saturday that the city deposited nearly $73,000 into the account of the unnamed woman.

Wilmington is now investigating to find out what happened. The payments have stopped.

City Treasurer Velda Jones-Potter told the newspaper that such occurrences are “extremely unusual.” She said it appears that the woman’s death wasn’t reported until many years after it occurred.

The city relies on third-party vendors to cross-check pensioner information with death records and Social Security data. But Jones-Potter said this woman’s death was not documented in Social Security records.

Pay stubs mailed to a pensioner’s home usually bounce back after they die. But officials said the city never received returned mail.

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