The Social Security Death Index is a system that contains all death records that are provided by the United States Social Security Administration’s Death Master File extract. Since 1962, the death of all persons who had a social security card has been recorded.
Social Security works quickly: once a person has been entered into the database, the individual’s application for a social security card can be ordered from the Social Security Administration (SSA). With the ability to get a social security card replacement, social security benefits, and the fact that the records are given out so easily, one might worry about identity theft. However, all of the records released by the Social Security Death Index are made public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). To help prevent any type of identity theft, there is a Death Master File that records all dead persons so that no one can steal a dead person’s identity or social security card.
The Social Security Death Index has been especially helpful to genealogists who are searching for dead persons and records including date of birth, death, the last place the individual lived, and the individual’s social security number.
All in all, the Social Security Death Index is efficient and accurate. However, there have been some cases where the SSDI has incorrectly filed someone as dead. When it happens, the wrongly accused individual is at great risk of identity theft. However, in those cases the Social Security Death Index is required to fix their mistake. Of course, in certain cases, the individual wrongly accused has had a hard time convincing the government that they are actually alive. However, for the most part, the Social Security Death Index keeps accurate and reliable records on people who have died and can be very useful for finding records.