This database picks up where the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) leaves off by providing more details than those included in the SSDI. It includes information filed with the Social Security Administration through the application or claims process, including valuable details such as birth date, birth place, and parents’ names. While you will not find everybody who is listed in the SSDI in this database, data has been extracted for more than 49 million people.
Information you may find includes:
- applicant's full name
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- date and place of birth
- father's name
- mother's maiden name
- race/ethnic description (optional)
You may also find details on changes made to the applicant's record, including name changes or information on claims that were recorded. The most common types of claims noted include: Original SSN (when the original application was submitted to obtain a SSN), Life Claim (when a claim was made for disability or retirement benefits), Death Claim (when a claim was made by a surviving family member for death or survivor benefits), and Duplicate SSN (usually used when an application was made to replace a SS card, it may also indicate a change in SSN or that more than one SSN was assigned).
Note: Some records may include unusual abbreviations or truncated entries for county and other names or punctuation errors in the data. These are in the original; we have not altered the text.
Why can’t I see the Social Security Number?
If the Social Security Number is not visible on the record index it is because Ancestry.com does not provide this number for any person who has passed away within the past 10 years.
Why can’t I see certain parents' names in the records?
Ancestry follows publishing guidelines similar to the approach used by the Social Security Administration when individuals request related records. Unless the deceased would be at least 75 years old today, we do not publish the parents' names in these records.
Why can't I find the person I'm looking for?
It could be that the person you're looking for does not meet the criteria for inclusion in the database. For example, you will not find living people. It is not an index to all deceased individuals who have held Social Security Numbers. It is not a database of all deceased individuals who have received Social Security Benefits, or whose families have received survivor benefits. Also, persons whose deaths were reported by the states rather than other institutions may not be included. This database contains basic information about people with Social Security numbers whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration or who would be more than 110 years of age if still living.
If the person you’re looking for meets the criteria for inclusion but does not appear in the index, here are some things you might try:
- Try searching by possible alternate name spellings or only by given name (leaving the surname search box empty).
- Change dates around (e.g., instead of searching for 5 Oct 1954 [10/5/54], search for 10 May 1954 [5/10/54])
- Change years around (e.g., 1984 becomes 1948)
- When searching for a name like O'Hare, or other names with punctuation in them, try entering the name without the punctuation (OHare) and with a space (O Hare).
- If you are looking for someone using a first name but don't find what you're looking for, try searching with just an initial. There are also rare instances of what appear to be middle initials included in the last name field, so you may want to try this in that field as well.
- Switch the last name and first name around.
- Try searching for a middle name as a first name.
- Even if you know a piece of information, try omitting it (e.g., if you know first and last name and death date, try leaving off the first name).
- If the Social Security number of the individual is known from some other source (such as the individual’s death certificate or tax records), then try searching ONLY for that number (leaving all other search boxes empty). When doing this, make sure that you are using the advanced search template.
How can I get a copy of the original records?
The Social Security Administration makes copies of the original Social Security application form (the SS-5) available to third parties who request information on a deceased individual. The SS-5 form contains some additional information not found in the computer extracts in our database (such as the individual’s employer when he or she first applied for a Social Security number). It may also contain the individual’s actual signature.
The Social Security Administration charges $27.00 for each SS-5 form requested.
To request this information, use the Social Security Administration’s online request form. Be sure to include the Social Security number if known. Without the Social Security number, the fee is $29. Note that the online form has the option of requesting a computer extract of the Social Security card application for $16 (or $18 without the Social Security number). You should not need to request this - these extracts are the source records for this collection.