FINDLAY, Ohio - The government wants to recoup benefits paid to the daughters of a man who was declared legally dead and then turned up alive years later.
Donald Miller Jr. disappeared in the 1980s, and a death ruling in 1994 allowed his family to get Social Security benefits. When the 62-year-old Miller resurfaced last August, saying he had lived in other states and then returned to Ohio, the government apparently took notice.
Miller has tried unsuccessfully to undo his death. Even as he stood in court last year providing evidence of his existence, a Hancock County judge turned down a request to bring him back to life, citing a three-year limit for changing a death ruling. The judge did acknowledge it was problematic.
Now the Social Security Administration wants his two daughters to return more than $47,000 to cover benefits they received as teenagers, plus interest, his ex-wife, Robin Miller, told The Courier in Findlay. Letters about the requested repayments were sent in April, and the family was stunned, she said.
"If anybody has to pay this back, it should be him because we didn't do anything wrong," she said.
Donald Miller, of Fostoria, couldn't be reached for comment, and his attorney didn't return calls from the newspaper.
A Social Security spokesman, Doug Nguyen in Chicago, said the agency is reviewing Robin Miller's application for a waiver.
Robin Miller said the family didn't defraud the government and had taken steps to find Donald Miller after he vanished, including contacting the FBI and hiring a private investigator.
"We honestly thought he was done, dead, gone and out of our lives," she said.
After hiatus Japan starts whaling for 'research'
Japan will send a fleet of ships to capture 333 minke whales for what it calls scientific research, though others think it's a loophole for whaling.
Why Obama admitted this about climate change
President Obama says the U.S. is taking responsibility for the large role it has played in fueling climate change, but why is that important?
Tech giants unite to push clean energy initiave
The COP21 climate conference in Paris is underway, and some big names are promoting a global initiative that's pushing for a zero-emissions future.
Smog in China reaches off-the-charts levels
The Chinese government is urging people to stay indoors due to severe smog, just as the country's president arrived in Paris to attend climate talks.
Did Scott Saunders quit 'The Apprentice'?
Sources close to U.K. "Apprentice" contestant Scott Saunders are saying Lord Sugar's criticism became too vicious.
China says Miss Canada is part of an evil cult
Miss Canada had a bit of trouble traveling to China to compete in the Miss World competition — the host country wouldn't let her in.