Social Security Death Index (SSDI)

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The Social Security Death Index is a list of deceased individuals whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. It has been kept since 1962. The index includes a few deaths even before that, beginning in 1937. For more information on what these records contain and how to use them in research, see United States Social Security Death Index.

SSDI Contents[edit | edit source]

The SSDI typically has the following information on the individuals:

  • Name
  • Social security number
  • State issued
  • Birth date
  • Death date
  • Last residence
  • Lump sum payment

Reasons for a person not having a Social Security number include being self-employed. In the early years this included the farmers, many doctors, attorneys and other self-employed professionals.

Obtaining Additional Information Beyond the SSDI[edit | edit source]

  • New in 2015: U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 at, may be searched for free at Family History Centers.
  • When you find an individual in the SSDi you can request a full copy of their application, which is known as a SS-5. Rootsweb had made the process easy but is now listed under a page at After completing a search, you will find a link in the "Tools" column labeled "SS-5 letter." By clicking on the link, you will find a form letter with the name, Social Security Number, and pertinent dates from the Death Index already filled in. You will need to do the following before mailing the request to the SSA:
  • Add your personal contact information to the letter. Add your name, address, and daytime telephone number.
  • Include a check or money order made payable to the Social Security Administration. The SSA also accepts MasterCard, Visa, and Discover credit cards. Include the card number and expiration date if you are using a credit card. The current fee is USD $27 per record when the Social Security Number is known, and USD $29 when the number is unknown or incorrect. You are charged the fee even if the SSA is unable to locate any information on the person. It may take up to six months to receive a report, so please be patient. has no way to expedite your order, or to determine when it will be sent.

SS-5 Application Contents[edit | edit source]

The SS-5 application is important to a family history researcher because of the detail it provides. The SS-5 application contains the following information: Applicant's full name, Age at last birthday, Date and place of birth, father and mother's full name (including the mother's maiden name), Gender and date signed and applicant's signature.