Woman kept dead grandma in freezer for 15 years so she could continue collecting her Social Security


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Some people will do anything for money, it has been said, and judging by the behavior of many, no doubt that’s true.

That includes keeping a dead relative ‘on ice’ for years to continue collecting their Social Security payments.

The UK’s Daily Mail reported that Cynthia Carolyn Black, 61, of Pennsylvania, allegedly stored her deceased grandmother in a freezer from 2004 to 2019 just so she could continue to receive her benefits.

The gruesome discovery of Glenora Delahay’s corpse was made by a pair of women who walked into a foreclosed home they were looking to buy a year ago in February.

Police investigating Delahay’s death discovered that she had died in March 2004 at age 97, but when her granddaughter, Black, found her dead, she stored the body in a freezer in the basement so she could continue collecting Delahay’s Social Security payments.

What’s more, and as a knock against unchecked bureaucracy, this means the Social Security Administration (SSA) was continuing to payout Delahay’s benefits despite the fact that, had she actually been alive, she would have been 112 years old — not exactly the ‘average old age’ for humans.

In any event, it’s not clear how much Black allegedly swindled in total, but according to local affiliate ABC27, Delahay was paid $186,000 in benefits between 2001 and 2010.

The Daily Mail said that Black allegedly moved Black’s body from Ardmore, Pa., to Dillsburg in 2007 and used the Social Security benefits to make the mortgage payment. After that property went into foreclosure, however, she allegedly moved to a property in York Haven.

For some reason, Black kept Delahay’s body at the foreclosed location. When the two prospective buyers began looking around the grounds they came across the body wrapped in trash bags and sheets in an outside freezer, then called police.

It’s unclear why Black was not arrested until 15 months later — this week. But she’s due to appear in court June 10 on charges of abusing a corpse, theft by unlawful taking, and receiving stolen property.

According to records, Black also lived with Glenn Black, Jr., 55, at the home in Ardmore and at the property where Delahay’s body was eventually discovered. He operated a business called Black’s Furniture Refinishing.

He is currently in jail on a charge of indecent assault of a substantially impaired person which stems from a February 2018 incident.

When the couple moved out of the foreclosed location, they took everything but the freezer containing Delahay’s body. Oddly, according to a neighbor, the couple “stripped the house” where they were living, including packing up a chainlink fence used to keep a dog penned inside, “copper pipes, toilets, and everything.”

“They were very unfriendly,” the unnamed neighbor said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “They did not want any conversation.”

Black certainly isn’t the only one who’s ever collected Social Security benefits from a dead relative.

In 2013, The New American reported that the SSA’s inspector general found that the agency paid benefits to dead persons for as long as two decades, in some cases.

“SSA issued payments to 2,475 beneficiaries for months and, in some cases, years after it received notification that they were deceased,” the SSA IG noted in a report.

“SSA received death reports for these individuals and recorded the dates of death on the Numident,” which is an electronic file containing information on each person with a Social Security number (SSN), but “did not record the death information on the beneficiaries’ payment records or terminate their payments.”

Of 2,475 deceased persons to which benefits were still being paid, the IG’s office found that 1,546 of them had death certificate numbers in the Numident, “a reliable indicator that the numberholder is deceased.”


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Jon Dougherty


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