Makeup of Death Master File Changed

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 . 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.

Posted Under: Public Records

Post By Barry Nixon (262 Posts)

W. Barry Nixon is the COO, the leading background screening information portal and online worldwide directory of professional background screening firms and Suppliers to the background screening industry. He co-authored the landmark book, Background Screening & Investigations: Managing Hiring Risk from the HR and Security Perspective. He also is the publisher of award winning newsletters, The Background Buzz and The Global Background Screener, and the author of the Background Checks column in PI Magazine.

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