U s social security death index

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Certain census years , , and also had mortality schedules were unfortunately destroyed , so you may find someone's death reported if it occurred in the year leading up to the census. Marriage Registers of Freedman , an article from Prologue This article describes the marriage records available for freed slaves and other records about slave families.

These records are an invaluable source for African-American family history.

Searching the Social Security Death Index

See links to more resources on African-American Research. FamilySearch - Search Historical Records. MyHeritage - U.

From the U. This series contains records for every social security number SSN assigned to individuals with a verified death or who would have been over years old by December 31, NUMIDENT includes information regarding any subsequent changes made to the applicant's record, including name changes and life or death claims. One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Logistic regression was used to identify the variables that best predict positive detection by the Internet mortality database. The decedents are characterized by identification status in Table 1.

Those not identified as dead were significantly more likely to be younger and foreign born. We did not observe significant differences in calendar year of birth and of death, gender, or ethnic background. Sensitivity for American-born males, The sensitivity for foreign-born decedents is substantially lower. For foreign-born males it drops to Sensitivity as a function of age is displayed in Table 3. Significant differences in sensitivity were found for age quartiles, ranging from The results of logistic regression are seen in Table 4.

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We did not observe statistically significant odds ratios for reaching retirement age i. In our study, the internet source of information from the SSA Death Master File demonstrated high and consistent sensitivity for detecting mortality status of both American-born men and women. The sensitivity for American-born decedents was The SSA reports that in most cases a report of death was made in connection with a claim for Social Security death benefits.

In some cases, it is reported to stop Social Security Benefits to the deceased. The primary sources of information utilized for the SSA DMF are relatives of deceased individuals, funeral directors, financial institutions, postal services, as well as other government agencies [ 9 ]. Thus the reasons for exclusion from the SSDI include not having a social security number and not having the death reported to the SSA [ 5 , 10 ]. The SSA was originally founded by an act of Congress in as a retirement program. In the SSA was required to issue social security numbers SSNs to all legally admitted aliens at entry; SSNs are assigned to all persons authorized to work in the US who request them, including newborns.

SSNs are required for tax purposes, to get medical coverage or apply for government services. As a result, most Americans and legal aliens have SSNs [ 11 , 12 ].

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is Still Available! | Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Our study employed social security number as the primary search field and name as secondary. We found an overall sensitivity of We believe one source of this discrepancy to be related to the disproportionate frequency of name changes in women. Having information on social security number has been shown to greatly improve sensitivity, as well as specificity, for sources of mortality [ 7 , 9 , 13 , 14 ], possibly by reducing the impact of inexact matches of name e.

Investigators using this information have had similar findings among some demographic groups [ 6 , 14 ]. While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act HIPAA places certain restrictions on personal information available to researchers, identifiers such as social security number are frequently accessible for studies [ 17 ]. A possible explanation for the differential misclassification is related to the eligibility criteria defined by the SSA for receiving death benefits.

Foreign nationals and naturalized citizens may have less opportunity to achieve the necessary 40 quarters 10 years of work in the US to qualify for benefits and thus reduced incentive to report deaths to the SSA. The U. Census Bureau recently determined that Immigrant proportions were highest in major urban areas, with Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco accountable for the majority of such individuals [ 18 ]. Age at death was another determining factor on identification by the SSDI in our study.

Older decedents were significantly more likely to be identified as dead, similar to previous reports [ 19 , 20 ].

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In general, as with immigrants who have not had sufficient opportunity to work the necessary 10 years, younger aged decedents are less likely to have achieved qualification for benefits. In this study, the first age quartile ranged from 41—70; it is unlikely to have greatly affected ability to qualify for benefits.


We also found a significant reduction in sensitivity for determining mortality status of African American decedents. Previous studies have reported difficulties in ascertainment of mortality status in African Americans using databases of such information [ 7 , 8 , 21 ].

However, these results should be looked at with caution because of the small sample size of African Americans on which they are based. Our study suggests that the use of the SSDI as the sole source for verification of mortality status might have detrimental effects in research findings if misclassification of mortality status is not accounted for in the analysis. As shown on this paper, this is especially the case, if the exposures of interest are, or related to age, gender, country of birth or race.

Correction methods for bias due to misclassification are available in the literature [ 22 — 25 ].

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