The SS-5 may contain additional genealogical data, such as birthplace, father's name, and mother's full maiden name or that information may be blacked out. Given the growing problem of identity theft and the importance of the Social Security number as a personal identifier in the United States, it might seem unusual that these identifiers are released publicly. However, because the documents held by the Social Security Administration are government records, it is required to make the information public under the Freedom of Information Act FOIA.
Researchers Wring Hands as U.S. Clamps Down on Death Record Access
A recent government audit revealed that the Social Security Administration had incorrectly listed 23, people as dead in a two-year period. These people have sometimes faced difficulties in convincing government agencies that they are actually alive; a story in the Nashville area focused on a woman who was incorrectly flagged as dead in the Social Security computers in and has had difficulties, such as having health insurance canceled and electronically filed tax returns rejected.
This story also noted that people in this situation can be highly vulnerable to identity theft because of the release of their Social Security numbers. In November , due to privacy and identity theft concerns, the Social Security Administration redacted and no longer included death data derived from State sources.
On December 18, , Ancestry. Some of their originally free information is now available via paid subscription only. In March , the entire Death Master File , edition of November 30, , was made available for download. Because the information was often provided by the individual themself, or by a family member, and it is tied to government programs and benefits, it is generally fairly accurate and can help you learn the names, dates, and places you need in order to obtain other vital records about your ancestors.
If you need help obtaining an SS-5 or other Social Security Administration record, our professionals can help. Contact us today to discuss your research goals and determine which of our projects would best fit your needs. To be honest it amazes me how easily this information is available.
The local office advised that their records did not go back that far.
United States Social Security Death Index — enerpralib.ml
Time is of the essence as I have a short window of time to submit this required information to the judge. I need to know how I can obtain this document.
Hi Travis, we would be happy to assist you in obtaining the necessary documentation. You may request a free quote here.
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Agree by clicking the 'Accept' button. Subscribe for weekly posts. Bio Latest Posts. Christy - Legacy Tree Genealogists Editor. Long-time professional genealogist and Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly Managing Editor, Christy Fillerup is tenacious in solving complex research problems.
But last year, after reports that the widespread availability of death records was facilitating identity theft, the Social Security Administration determined that it had been improperly releasing the state records as part of the file. Under a law, the agency concluded, those state records — but only those records — were exempted from public disclosure. They could, however, be made available to other federal agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that needed them to determine whether to pay or discontinue benefits.
As a result, four million deaths were expunged from the publicly available master file last November. Social Security officials expect the number of deaths disclosed each year — 2. For epidemiologists, it can be critical to learn quickly when the subject of a study has died so that details can be gathered while memories and records are fresh. Without an updated national index, it can be difficult to track those who have moved repeatedly or perhaps died alone. Jesse D. Schold, a health researcher at the Cleveland Clinic , said the holes in the master file, which will only grow larger, had already compromised his investigation into mortality rates among living kidney donors.
Confirming deaths of subjects by surveying every state would be prohibitively burdensome, he said. And using the index compiled by the C. Genealogy Web sites make the data available on the Internet at little or no cost.
Requesting SSA’s Death Information
Schold said. View all New York Times newsletters. Over six decades, the study has examined the causes and effects of heart disease in three generations of subjects who were originally from the same town in Massachusetts. Many are dying off. Splansky said. Mark Hinkle, a spokesman for the Social Security Administration, said researchers would simply have to collect the data from the states.
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