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This Woman Can't Convince the Government She's Alive

Newser — John Johnson

It may sound like the punchline to a Monty Python skit, but the problem is all too real for a woman in France. Jeanne Pouchain has been struggling to convince the government that she's not dead for three years now, reports the Guardian.

The mistake arose during a convoluted legal fight the 58-year-old was having with a former employee. In 2017, that employee informed a court that Pouchain was dead—whether that was an honest mistake remains unclear—and the court accepted it at face value, per the Local.

Pouchain says she didn't even know that particular hearing was taking place and thus wasn't there to speak up. As a result, Pouchain's identity was essentially scrubbed from state records.

Her ID card and driver's license were invalidated, she's lost health insurance, and she can't even access a joint bank account she holds with her husband.

"I went to see a lawyer who told me it would be quickly resolved, as I had been to my doctor who certified that I was very much still alive," Pouchain tell the Guardian.

"But because there had been a [legal] ruling, this wasn't enough." Three years later, her attorney calls it a "crazy story" and says he can't fathom how a judge would declare her dead without seeing a death certificate or otherwise checking up on it.

This month, Pouchain began yet another legal push to prove she's alive. Her attorney filed a motion to have the 2017 declaration of death invalidated, and the case is pending.

In the meantime, "I no longer exist," says Pouchain, per the AP. "I don't do anything. ... I sit on the veranda and write."

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