The Social Security Death Index - Online Searching

Social Security Death Index - Online Searching

Here are three popular ways to search the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) online. Two of these are free to search.
  • Social Security Death Index - Ancestry (requires payment - part of an Ancestry subscription) more than 91 million records - updated to include mid March 2014 listings; Ancestry also has census records and many other genealogy databases
  • Social Security Death Index (free to search at Fold3) over 90 million records; Fold3 also has a fee-based subscription service that includes military records and other genealogy records
  • Note: The Social Security Death Index from Rootsweb is currently offline.
Social Security Records: Applications and Claims - Online Index
  • U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 (requires payment - part of an Ancestry subscription) This is an index of Social Security applications (similar to Numidents, which are computer printouts of the application for a Social Security number) and claims (usually for Social Security benefits or death benefits). Some entries in this database include the names of the person's parents and the place of birth, and some may include both married and maiden names for women. But not all of the entries have this information. The database is not complete, but it does have more than 49 million entries. You will find some people in this database who are not included in the Social Security Death Index, as many of the entries predate the general time frame of the SSDI (which begins circa 1962, although there are some earlier entries). You will find many individuals in the SSDI who are not listed here. And some people may be listed in both databases. Access to this database and Ancestry's SSDI (listed above) are included in an Ancestry subscription.
Social Security Records: Ordering the SS-5 Form

The Social Security Death Index was created from the Social Security Administration's Death Master File. It lists people whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Adminsitration starting about 1962 (there are a few deaths listed prior to 1962). After finding someone in the Social Security Death Index you can then order a copy of the person's SS-5 form from the Social Security Administration for a fee. The SS-5 is the form a person filled out when they applied for a Social Security Number. This form usually includes the date and place of birth of the applicant and the names of the applicant's parents, but sometimes the names of the parents may be redacted (removed) due to the Privacy Act. Social Security Death Index: More Information