Social security and death certificates

Vital Records

Check the rules for the SSDI search engine you are using to see what types of wildcards are allowed. If you have filled in several search fields and received no results for your ancestor, then try searching with less information. Just because you know your ancestor's birth date, doesn't mean it is listed correctly in the SSDI or that it is even listed at all. If you are including the given name first name in your search, then be sure to check for alternate spellings.

How do I report the death of a Social Security beneficiary?

The search will only return results which match the given name you enter exactly. Middle names are not usually included.

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In some cases the first and middle names may both be included in the given name field. The person may be listed with an initial or initials in the given name field. An individual may have only a single name entered either a first name or a last name. You would be best off trying to narrow these down with other known facts such as birth or death date. Married women are most likely listed under their husband's surname, but if this provides no results then check for a listing under their maiden name.

If a women was married more than once, be sure to check all married names. Titles such as military rank Col.

There may also be variations in the way the title was entered. For example, you may find Jr. Smith, Jr or Smith Jr.

Death certificates are required by law for multiple purposes.

Leave out the ZIP code field as this does not exist for the earlier records. Check a variety of dates - typos and transposition of digits is common. The person who entered the information into the database may have made typographical or other errors. The information may also have been incorrectly recorded during the initial application process.

This was especially true when Social Security numbers were first issued and involved a multi-step application process with an opportunity for errors at each step.

Social Security Death Benefits

Many of the records prior to when the SSDI database was first computerized were never added. Your ancestor's death may have never been reported to the Social Security Administration. It may be possible that your ancestor did not have a Social Security card. 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.

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The Death Master File (DMF) from the Social Security Administration (SSA) currently contains over 94 million records. The file is created from internal SSA. The death of a someone who was receiving or eligible for Social Security on his or her own work record triggers a one-time payment of $ (often called the.

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 and email it to ORDP. Exchange ssa. 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:. Talk to the staff about their process. If the deceased cared for dependents for example, grandchildren , make arrangements immediately for their care. Also look to see if the deceased named a "Designated Agent" to take care of those arrangements sometimes this is included in the deceased's Advance Directive documents such as in their Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, or in a Living Will.

Also, look for any pre-paid services, such as burial services or cremation. For more information about who is responsible under Washington State law for these after-death arrangements, see the "Funerals, Burials, and Cremation" section of the Dealing with Death chapter in the Handbook for Washington Seniors: Legal Rights and Resources.

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Washington State usually requires embalming if the body will be held or transported more than 24 hours after death. Often you can get them from the local Department of Health office in the county where the death occurred, or from the Washington State Department of Health. Generally, you will need one certified copy of the death certificate for each major asset, such as cars, land, or bank accounts, for which you will need to transfer ownership. Ask if a non-certified photocopy is allowed, or if the company would return the original certified copy to you so you could use it later.

If necessary, ask close family, friends, or the deceased's doctor or lawyer if they know where these important papers can be found, and the location of a bank safety deposit box, if any. Important documents such as a Will and "Final Instructions" letter might be in the safe box. If there is a Will, notify the Personal Representative named in the Will and the Trustee, if named in a Trust right away.

This is an extremely important step to complete if there is a Will. If there is no valid Will , the court will administer the estate according to Washington State law. Real Estate Property deeds including any recent appraisals. Other Promissory or Loan notes including loans owed to the deceased. Vehicle titles and registrations car, boat, RV, etc.

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Membership certificates. Accidental life insurance. Employers or pension insurance. Funeral insurance or other death-related benefit plans. Credit card insurance for balances.

Stocks and bonds. Credit and debit card accounts. User names and passwords for any online accounts. List of safety deposit boxes, where to find keys, and names of authorized users. Other Financial Records.

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Income statements for the current year Social Security, pension, IRA's, annuities, employment, and other income records. IRS income tax returns for the current and previous year. IRS gift tax returns for all years. Property tax records and statements. Business interests held, financial statements and agreements, contracts, etc. Loan papers. Other - investment records, etc. Pre-paid funeral contracts.


Social Security card or number. Birth certificates of all family members. Marriage license or certificate. Domestic Partnership Registration.

Court documents for adoptions and divorce including any property settlement agreements, name changes, prenuptial agreements, etc. Personal Information. Names and contact information of closest family and friends.