The stomach-turning things some people will do to stay on the government dole

Some years ago, there was a TV ad campaign titled “What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar?” The answers to that question, which included making monkey sounds, were harmless enough.

Not so the answers to a related question that could be the basis of a present-day reality show: “What would you do to keep the government benefit checks flowing in?” One upstate New York woman’s answer is positively nauseating.

Newsday reports via the Associated Press that Mary Kersting of Gloversville, 40 miles northwest of Albany, kept her 93-year-old mother’s decomposed body for over a year so she could cash her Social Security checks and pension benefits.

Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira says [the] 60-year-old … Kersting pleaded guilty Tuesday to grand larceny and improper disposal of a body.

Police checking on the welfare of Hope Ruller found her decomposed body Dec. 29 in her apartment….

Authorities say Ruller died in October 2013 from unknown causes. Kersting lived in the apartment above her mother’s.

Mary Kersting
Mary Kersting

Kersting admitted she stole more than $13,000 in Ruller’s Social Security and pension benefits. She also admitted she never called authorities to get medical care for her mother or to take away her body.

She faces six months in jail when she’s sentenced on Nov. 6.

Remarkably, this is not the first time this has happened. In 2013, a Sacramento man was arrested along with his wife after hiding his father’s corpse to collect the dead man’s pension. The couple, which buried the body in the backyard, might have gotten away indefinitely with the revolting ploy except that neighbors complained about the stench.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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