There is a master government list that has your name and other identifying information on it. When you pass away, that will be recorded and your death will be noted on another master list.
These lists are maintained so the government and private businesses can know when you are eligible for services and when your eligibility ends. For example, the government uses the lists to know when you can receive Social Security and when to stop sending benefits to you.
Human error sometimes causes problems with the list.
People who are still alive are accidentally put on the master list of the deceased.
That can cause some problems, but usually not as bad as what one Spanish woman is going through as Fox News reported in "Spanish woman wants to open up grave to prove she's alive."
Juana Escudero has been deceased for seven years. Well, not really, she's actually still alive.
The Spanish government just thinks she's dead, because seven years ago someone with her exact same name and place of birth was recorded as deceased.
As a result, Escudero has not been eligible to receive government services, including going to a doctor, for the last seven years. Her efforts to convince the government that she is alive, have so far been fruitless.
She's asking the government to open the grave of the person they declared dead, so she can prove it is not her.
In the U.S., it is easier to fix these clerical errors, but it still is not always easy.
If it happens to you, then it is a good idea to get an attorney to help you.
Reference: Fox News (Sep. 27, 2017) "Spanish woman wants to open up grave to prove she's alive."