SSA expands access to Death Master File

The Social Security Administration's Death Master File is now available online in a variety of applications, making it easier for users to verify deaths. The applications eliminate the need for users to maintain and update their own large database of deaths reported to the SSA.

Government, financial, investigative and credit reporting organizations and medical researchers use the SSA Death Master File to verify identities, as well as to prevent fraud and comply with the USA Patriot Act of 2001.

The National Technical Information Service and SSA are working to make the SSA Death Master File more accessible, with fewer delays and in different formats, including searchable online applications. NTIS sells subscriptions and products related to the scientific, technical and engineering business information the federal government produces. The master file is available at www.ntis.gov/ssa-dmf.

By methodically running financial, credit, payment and other applications against the Death Master File, the financial community, insurance companies, security firms, and state and local governments are better able to identify people and prevent identity fraud. The USA Patriot Act requires procedures to verify customer identity and maintain records of information used to verify identity.

The master file in an online search application or as raw data on a CD helps medical researchers, hospitals and oncology programs track former patients and study subjects. Investigative firms use the data to identify persons, or the death of persons, in the course of their investigations. And pension funds, insurance organizations, and federal, state and local governments responsible for payments to recipients and retirees need to know if they might be sending checks to deceased persons.

The Death Master File is available in interactive mode, for manual and automated batch processing, through Web services and in limited-inquiry products, according to SSA.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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