Search Social Security Death Index

Social Security Death Index - FAQ

Taken from: Porter, Pamela Boyer. 1999. "Social Security Sleuthing" Conference in the States Program Richmond VA: National Genealogical Society.

How can I correct errors in the SSDI?

If an individual claims that SSA has incorrectly listed someone as deceased (or has incorrect dates/data on the Death Master File (the database from which the Social Security Death Index is generated), the individual should contact their local social security office (with proof) to have the error corrected. That local social security office will:

  1. Make the correction to the main file at SSA and give the individual a verification document of SSA's current records, or
  2. If the local social security office already has the correct information on the Death Master File (probably corrected sometime prior), give the individual a verification document of SSA's 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. The index does not include 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. The SSDI contains basic information about persons with Social Security numbers whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration. See the above section on who is included in the SSDI. (Porter 1999)

If the individual you seek does meet 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 Soundex searching.
  • 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)
  • Use all other possible spellings of the name (and perhaps some that aren't so likely). When searching for a name like O'Hare, or other names with punctuation in them, enter the name without the punctuation (e.g. OHare). 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 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 none of these yield fruit, it is possible that the SSDI has erroneously omitted your ancestor. If this is the case, see the FAQ about correcting errors in the SSDI.

Who is listed in the SSDI?

This database is an index to basic information about persons with Social Security numbers whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration. The death may have been reported by a survivor requesting benefits. It may have been reported in order to stop Social Security Benefits to the deceased. Funeral homes often report deaths to the SSA as a service to family members...

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Social Security Death Index Search

by mikeysmama

Input information on the LEFT side. Always be aware of any sponsored links, like the one on the top.
If he's no longer with us, he should be there.
Here's the official SSDI site, but the other one is a bit easier. All you need is a name.

Try the Social Security Death Index

by redm

Try the SSDI at
If you have his name and it's not a very common surname, it would be a great place to start. If it IS a common surname, you may have to search through hundreds (or possibly thousands) of records, but it's free and probably the best place to start. Once you narrow it down to a specific State, other records might be available on the Internet.

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