Death Master File
Important Information About The Death Master File
Have you ever wondered what happens to a person's social security number and other necessary information when they face death? Are you familiar with the Death Master File? The Death Master File is a centralized database that contains the information of millions of deceased U.S. individuals.
When an individual with a Social Security Number (SSN) passes away, the government wants be aware. Their benefits should be given to surviving family members and help prevent improper payments. This article will discuss everything you need to know about the Death Master File. Specifically, what happens when you are reported as deceased by the Social Security Administration and the credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union.
What Is The Death Master File
To add more detail to what was mentioned earlier, the Death Master File (DMF), also known as Social Security Index (SSDI), is an electronic database that was developed by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). Since 1980, this database has been listing and taking note of deceased U.S. citizens as early as 1936.
Every deceased individual as of 1936 who has a Social Security Number (SSN) is listed on this database. Important information such as the individual's full name, date of birth, and date of death can also be found in the DMF database. Through the Freedom of Information act, this file can be accessed by the public and private industries by purchasing it from the Department of Commerce's National Technical Information Service (NTIS).
What Is It Used For?
Financial and credit firms usually use the DMF database and government agencies to protect their organizations by checking the records of individuals. Background checking using the DMF database is done to prevent them from entertaining people using fake identities or using identities of deceased individuals, preventing identity fraud. This database is also used to help identify the benefits and payments to surviving relatives of deceased individuals.
Genealogists and medical personnel also use the DMF database to check databases such as leading causes of death or family backgrounds that would include diseases, etc.
How Accurate Is The Social Security Death Index?
The DMF database is updated weekly or monthly. Various organizations and government agencies use this file. Although the database has millions of deceased individuals on its list, it is essential to note that it is still possible for the file not to contain all of the deaths, thus having a few people missing.
It has been estimated by the SSA that there are at least 16 million deceased individuals who are missing from the DMF database. With so many individuals having the same name, possibilities of frozen bank accounts, mistaken identity theft, false accusations, etc. It can also happen.
Also, the file may erroneously include names it should not.
What Documents Do I Need To Report Death To Social Security?
Usually, reporting deaths to the SSA is handled by funeral directors. There will be a form called Statement of Death(Form SSA-721) which would contain information such as local SS office address, name of the deceased, date of death, date of birth, surviving spouses, etc. However, it is essential to know what documents one should submit when it comes to this issue. It is up to the survivor's responsibility to ensure that the SSA that the beneficiary's death is notified. Notifying your local SS can be done by reporting the death through call or in person.
If you are applying for survivor benefits, here are the following documents that you would need:
* Your SSN and the deceased individual's SSN
* Death Certificate
* Proof of earning of the deceased for the previous year
* Your birth certificate
* Marriage certificate for those applying for surviving spouse or divorced spouse.
* Divorce Decree, for those applying for benefits as a divorced spouse
* For Children's benefits, Children's birth certificate and Social Security Numbers
* Your checking or savings account information.
These documents will have to be submitted through mail or in person. These documents must be original or certified by the custodian of records.
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These are all the necessary information you should know when it comes to the Death Master File. This handy file helps government agencies and private organizations identify identity fraud and give out government benefits. The Death Master File is an important file to be updated regularly. Improper payments and mistaken accusations can happen with so many people with social security numbers and similar names.