Madeline-Michelle Carthen, a woman who was declared dead 16 years ago, is still fighting to prove that she is indeed alive.

Carthen said she was getting ready for a trip to Ghana in 2007 when she realized that government records have her listed as deceased. At that time, the St. Louis woman was planning to make the trip as part of an internship program with Webster University, NBC News reported.

But the plan was derailed after Carthen, formerly Madeline Coburn, tried applying for financial aid to cover the cost of the trip and learned that her social security number identified her as dead.

“I laughed,” Carthen told NBC News. “I said, ‘What do you mean? I’m sitting right here. I’ve been at school over a year and a half. … How am I dead? Is this going to affect my international internship?'”

The 52-year-old woman said school officials told her she couldn’t attend classes until the mistake was fixed. Carthen has also been fired from jobs because of the error.

When she first reported the error to Social Security Administration, Carthen said she was told that her name was mistakenly added to the death master file, a record of people who have died. Officials gave Carthen a death erroneous letter, saying she could present it to credit bureaus to prove she’s still alive.

“Well, it got worse, because it wasn’t creditors,” Carthen said. “Being in the death master file, it went to the IRS, it went to the Department of Homeland Security, it went to E-verify, all of these things. It just started affecting my life.”

Carthen said she hasn’t found any solutions despite reaching out to four U.S. presidents, submitting several letters to the SSA and filing a lawsuit against the SSA. The complaint, according to Carthen, was unsuccessful because the court determined the government is protected with sovereign immunity.

“Here I am still stuck, and nobody can help. I just want answers,” she said. “Sometimes I wanna give up, but my faith is too strong. I don’t care if it takes 20 years, I’m going to still do what I got to do to make this situation right, not just for myself but for others.”