Related Help Pages:
Getting Started
Definition of Fields and Search Tips
Missing Entries in the SSDI
Reporting Inaccurate Entries
Contacting the SSA for Information

Related Sites:
Social Security Administration Home Page

RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees: SSDI & Railroad Retirement Board Records

Social Security Death Master File: A Much Misunderstood Index by Jake Gehring


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Social Security Death Index
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Social Security Death Index:
Getting Started

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is generated from the U. S. Social Security Administration's Death Master File.

Search the SSDI by entering one or more fields in the form and clicking on the "submit" button. Keep in mind that the more fields you fill in, the more restricted your results will be (you may even eliminate the record you are seeking).

You have the option of using the simple or advanced search form. The simple form has less options, but the results will include all the information from the database based on the individuals that matched your criteria. A definition of each field, and tips on maximizing your search, appears on the next page.

 The SSDI does not include death records for everyone who has been issued a Social Security Number (card). Common reasons for exclusion include the following:

  • 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 dependents 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.

Continue To:
Definition of Fields and Search Tips