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HelpDesk: Social Security Death Index (SSDI)
Social Security Death Index | TutorialHelpDesk Index


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the SSDI?
  2. Why isn't someone listed in the SSDI?
  3. How often is the SSDI updated at RootsWeb.com?
  4. What do the letters or numbers mean in the "Last Residence" field?
  5. How do I correct an error in the SSDI?
  6. How do I remove someone from that database?

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What is the SSDI?
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RootsWeb.com's Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is generated from the U.S. Social Security Administration's Death Master File. The Death Master File contains the names of deceased persons that were reported to the Social Security Administration since about 1962. RootsWeb.com uses that database and adds a search engine to create its SSDI.

 

Why isn't someone listed in the SSDI?
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The SSDI does not include death records for everyone or even everyone who has been issued a Social Security Number (card). Major reasons for exclusion are:

  • The death was not reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
  • The death occurred before the Death Master File was maintained in a computer database. About 98 percent of the deaths in this database occurred between 1962 and the present.
  • The person did not participate in the Social Security program.
  • Survivor death benefits were (are) being paid to dependants or spouse.
  • A recent death may not be indexed yet.
  • Human error. (Before you give up, read the section titled "Missing Entries in the SSDI.")

If you do not find a listing in the SSDI, it does not mean the person is still living or that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has no records on the deceased. See "Contacting the SSA for Information" for instructions on requesting information on individuals not in the SSDI.

 

How often is the SSDI updated at RootsWeb.com?
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Currently the SSDI is not updated on a set schedule. The most recent update was January 2004 and the HelpDesk has no more information.

 

What do the letters or numbers mean in the "Last Residence" field?
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Sometimes the "Last Residence" field contains the following codes or abbreviations, usually in parentheses: 72, PE, FO, HC, VA. These are internal codes used by the Social Security Administration and should be ignored. The abbreviation VA does not mean Virginia or Veterans' Administration. The "Last Residence" field actually refers to the address of record and not necessarily where the deceased lived or died. See Exploring the SSDI.

 

How do I correct an error in the SSDI?
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RootsWeb.com does not edit the data received from the Social Security Administration. If you have documented proof of an error, contact your local Social Security Administration office. It must correct its Death Master File; otherwise, the error will continue to reappear in future updates.

Use Post-em Notes to identify errors or discrepancies and to add related information or links to the SSDI. You will find links to add or view Post-em Notes in the column labeled "Tools" of the search results. The password it asks for is one that you make up.

 

How do I remove someone from that database?
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RootsWeb.com does not edit the data received from the Social Security Administration with the exception of removing YOUR name — if the Social Security Administration should mistakenly list you as deceased.