To access online Social Security information regarding application (SS-5 form) data, death, and claim forms, you use the online NUMIDENT database.
What’s a NUMIDENT you might ask? It is short for the Social Security Administration’s Numerical Identification Files (NUMIDENT). There are three types of entries in NUMIDENT: death, application (SS-5), and claim records. For those who don’t want to spend the money to obtain a copy of the SS-5 form, this database may have the info that you are looking for. The application is an excellent place to obtain the name of a person’s father and mother, as well as birth date and place. Search the NUMIDENT Files HERE
From the Numerical Identification (NUMIDENT) Files FAQs (you might want to read these before starting searching):
The death records contain information related to the applicant’s death, including full name, social security number, date of birth, sex, and date of death. The death records do not include any State reported deaths in accordance with the Social Security Act section 205(r). There are 49,459,293 death record entries in the transfer of the 1936-2007 records.
The application (SS-5) records contain information extracted from the SS-5 form “Application for a Social Security Card” or “Application for Social Security Account Number.” Information in the NUMIDENT application entries includes the applicant’s full name, father’s name, mother’s maiden name, sex, race/ethnic description, place of birth, and other information about the application or subsequent changes to the applicant’s record. The transfer of the 1936 – 2007 records includes records for individuals with a verified death or who would have been 110 years old by December 31, 2007. There are a total of 72,182,729 application records for 40,873,455 social security numbers. For some social security numbers, there are multiple application records.
The claim records include information on whether it is a life or death claim, full name, date of birth, sex, father’s name, mother’s maiden name, and place of birth. The transfer of the 1936 – 2007 records includes records for individuals with a verified death or who would have been 110 years old by December 31, 2007. There are a total of 25,230,486 claim records for 25,140,847 social security numbers. For some social security numbers, there are multiple claim records.
The Application (SS-5) Files do not include records of all social security applications between 1936 and 2007.
- Between 1973 and 1979, the Social Security Administration converted legacy SS-5 records to the NUMIDENT electronic database. Information on applications prior to 1973 may be incomplete.
- There are only Application (SS-5) records for verified deceased individuals or those born prior to 1908.
The Death Files do not include records of all deaths between 1936 and 2007.
- In particular, the files do not include any state-reported deaths in accordance with the Social Security Act section 205(r). An estimated 10% – 30% of reported deaths to the Social Security Administration are state-reported deaths.
- The absence of a record for a person is not proof that the person is alive.
- The files do not include the deaths of individuals who never received a social security number.
- The Social Security Administration began maintaining death information using automated (computer processing) methods in 1962. Information on deaths prior to 1962 may be incomplete or missing.
The Claim Files do not include records of all claims between 1936 and 2007.
- The Social Security Administration stopped creating claim records by 1984.
There may be a record for an individual in one set of files, but not in the others. For example, there may be a Death record, but no corresponding record in the Application and Claim Files.
- There are nearly 6 million social security numbers in the Application (SS-5) Files that do not appear in the Death Files.
- There are nearly 23 million social security numbers in the Claim Files that do not appear in the Application records.
What to remember while using the system
- It contains records for every social security number (SSN) assigned to individuals with a verified death or who would have been over 110 years old by December 31, 2007
- Coverage dates are 1936-2007
- Database searches are broken down by the first letter of the person’s last name
- My parents’ generation was well represented in the database (born in the early 1900s), but my grandparents’ generation (born 1800s) was not, even though they met the criteria.
- (Important) It is easy to get no results if you forget to go back to the beginning and forget to select the database that corresponds to your target person’s last name (I forget to do this all the time)
- Some social security numbers have multiple claim records for no apparent reason
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!