SSA’s Death Information

We collect death information to administer our programs.  We receive death reports from many sources, including family members, funeral homes, financial institutions, postal authorities, States and other Federal agencies.  It is important to note our records are not a comprehensive record of all deaths in the country.

We compile files of death information from our Master Files of Social Security Number (SSN) Holders and SSN Applications (Enumeration System) system of records, which contains our records of SSNs assigned to individuals since 1936.  These files of death information include, if available, the deceased individual’s SSN, first name, middle name, surname, date of birth, and date of death.

The full file of death information includes state death records.  Pursuant to section 205(r) of the Social Security Act, we only share the full file with certain Federal and State agencies.  If you are a representative of a Federal or State agency, please see the information below to learn how to submit a request for the full file of death information.

We provide the Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS) a public file of death information, which excludes state death records.  NTIS sells the public file of death information, also known as the public Death Master File (DMF) or Limited Access DMF, to other agencies and private organizations such as banks and credit companies in accordance with the requirements of section 203 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.  If you are interested in purchasing the public file of death information, please visit the NTIS’ website.

Requesting SSA’s Death Information for (Federal benefit-paying agencies & States)

If you are a Federal agency interested in entering into a data exchange agreement with SSA to receive the full file of death information, complete the data exchange request form (SSA-157) and email it to ORDP.Data.Exchange@ssa.gov.

If you are a State Agency interested in entering into a data exchange agreement with SSA to receive the full file of death information, submit your request via the provisions listed on our internet site on the page Electronic Data Exchanges with the States.

For each request to receive the full file of death information, you must tell us:

  • why you are requesting the full file,
  • what legal authority under section 205(r) of the Social Security Act supports your request, 
  • the anticipated frequency of your request,
  • what security measures and safeguards you have in place to protect the data you receive from us, and 
  • if your agency currently has, or previously had, a data exchange agreement with SSA to receive the full file.

Criteria Used to Approve Requests and Estimate Reimbursement Costs

We will review your request to determine whether we have the applicable authority to provide the full file of death information to your agency.  Finally, reimbursement for developing and maintaining the exchange is generally required.

Additional guidance for requesting the full file:

  • We will require you to sign an agreement covering payment for services that we perform. Section 205(r) of the Social Security Act requires that the recipient agency provide SSA reimbursement for the reasonable cost of providing the information.  We calculate costs based on the implementation and maintenance of the data exchange, how your agency will receive the file, and the frequency with which you will receive the information.

The requestor and an appropriate SSA representative will sign Form SSA-1235 “Agreement Covering Reimbursable Services” to establish the financial arrangement between the parties.  We will recoup all costs (computer program development costs and ongoing processing costs) associated with your service.  The costs are subject to change to reflect actual costs in subsequent years.

A Data Exchange Liaison will respond to your request as soon as possible.

NOTE

The timeframe to establish an exchange with SSA can vary significantly depending upon the nature of your request and SSA priorities.  Some exchanges are routine while others may require additional time for approval and implementation. During the review and implementation stages, we will keep you apprised of the status of your request.