Sunday, June 7, 2015

Withholding Information

The United States Social Security Administration makes available to the public some information for certain people who are deceased.  You can search this Death Master File for free at FamilySearch in their Social Security Death Index.  This is a great resource if you are looking for someone who would have applied for a number, which started in 1935.  Results should include the deceased person's name, date of birth, month and year of death (day of death in more recent years), and the place that the last benefit was sent.

If you find an entry of interest, for $27 you can request a copy of the original application for the Social Security account number.  The fee used to be $7.

The original application asked for address, date and place of birth, employment, and names of parents.  This is great information in the study of a family's history.

I ordered my mother's application and was surprised to see information blocked from the copy.

The enclosed letter explained, "We have deleted the names of the parents, however, as they may still be living."  Another paragraph explained that I can file an appeal if I can prove that the parents are dead.  A decision will then be made if the people whose deaths I can prove are the same people on the application.

I can indeed supply copies of the death certificates and will appeal this decision.

I don't know if names of parents are automatically blocked on the copy of the application, or if there is a year of birth to serve as a cut-off time frame.  Research is greatly hindered when information is purposely withheld on what is supposed to be a document available to anyone by request and payment of a fee.  Imagine someone's predicament if the names of parents were not known and this document was the only way of discovering these names.

If anyone has recently requested a copy of the application for a Social Security Number, please let us know your experience.

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