Effective November 1, 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is no longer including state death records in the SSA’s Master Death File (DMF). The law governing this action is found at www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title02/0205.htm . Section 205(r) prohibits the SSA from disclosing state death records it receives, except in limited circumstances.
Since it can no longer add these entries, the SSA further decided to remove 4.2 million existing state records from the DMF. This removal represents a little over 4.7% of the entire database. One of the significant pieces of information that the state records data added to the DMF was the last known residence (state, county) of a subject.
Please note that the SSA does not have a death record for all persons. The DMF as a verification tool is good, but the absence of a particular person does not guarantee the person is alive.