Former Marine listed as dead by government, very much alive

Veteran Mark Ellis, Jr. is fighting for his life - on paper at least.

"Just trying to live the American Dream, but they stopped it," Ellis said.

FOX 2 "Because they said you're dead."

Ellis: "Yes."

Ellis is very much alive, contrary to what he's hearing from the federal government.

"My wife got a letter from (The Department of) Veteran's Affairs stating that I was deceased," he said. 

Dead and gone, it says so in the letter they received in November suspending his benefits. He had just been to the VA the day before and thought he was in pretty good health.

"I'm very much alive and healthy," Ellis said. "I was just confused."

The former F-18 mechanic with the U.S. Marine Corps was honorably discharged in 2011. He is 60% disabled from his service, so he gets disability benefits as well as GI benefits from the VA.

He works as a truck driver now, but that VA money paid his rent, and now it's gone. For a short time it was reinstated after he notified the VA that he's alive.

But not anymore. Apparently the U.S. Department of Treasury also told them he's dead.

Then it closed his bank account.

"They closed my bank account and I did not have access to it," Ellis said. "And they listed my wife as a widow on the bank account.

"All the money was sent back to the VA."

Ellis says he has tried everything to get the government to set the record straight.

"I went to Social Security and informed them that I was alive and she was very surprised," Ellis said.

He signed some forms, and he was told the problem would be fixed it in three to six weeks -- but it has been more than two months.

"I checked my credit score and I have a zero credit score," Ellis said. "And that's what threw me over the edge because we're trying to buy a house and you can't do anything with a zero credit score.

"I can't file my taxes either."

FOX 2: "So right now you don't exist anymore."

"I don't exist," he said. "I go to work everyday and try to earn a paycheck and for what, I don't know. But I'm hoping to get back on track with the government."

FOX 2 is making calls on Ellis' behalf - but he is hoping someone out there can help.  Ellis a veteran, and marine who served his country, deserves better than this.

"I didn't expect to wake up and to think I was dead," Ellis said. "It's a running joke in the office that, 'dead man walking' so I don't know what to do."

A GoFundMe page has been created to help Ellis and his wife with their rent since he is not receiving benefits right now. CLICK HERE to donate.

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