What? Social Security Death Index Lies?

+20 votes
130 views

Yes.  Well, at least people make assumptions based on the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). that are incorrect.

The SSDI has a field called: Last Place of Residence.  Dr. Richard C. Philbrick is shown on the SSDI as having the Last Place of Residence of Mercer Island, Washington,("United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JT7Z-ZYD : accessed 29 December 2015), Richard C Philbrick, 18 May 2000; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).) The Washington Digital Archives used the SSDI, so it also shows "Last Contact Location" as Mercer Island. (Notice the change in wording for this field.)  But I KNOW that he died in Japan.  What's up?

If you don't know that the "Last Place of Residence" field is the last zip code of residence or zip code where the death benefit was sent, you may assume that Dick died in Mercer Island.  But, the death benefit is sent after death to the person who is managing the estate.  In other words, it is sent to the address of the estate administrator or executor.  So, a person who died in one place may have a totally different location as "Last Place of Residence."

Use as many sources as you can. In this case, FindAGrave does not give any place of death. The only confirmation of the place of death as Hagi, Japan, was his obituary.

 

 

asked in The Tree House by Vic Watt G2G6 Pilot (312k points)
Also even the date of death is not always correct as sometimes it is listed as the 1st, 15th or 30th of a month when the actual death certificate has a different date. (The date of birth though seems accurate on the SSDIs).
Interesting. One must know how to interpret the SSDI properly, no doubt, but they do make mistakes
Thank you! Saved me a hassle. Dad died 9 June 2000, but the ssdi says 15 June. So nix that source!
And then there is instance of fraud.  I was unable to find the death date for a family member so I could add it to the headstone that had been purchased by a family member that had his name and birth date - but no death date.  No records in SSDI or other records online.  I checked at the state vital records and lo and behold they had no record either.  I finally got the date from the funeral director and had the stone engraved.

I got to thinking about it and decided to call Social Security.  I gave all of the information, phone numbers etc.  He checked it out and sure enough he said he couldn't give details but thought my suspicions were correct... that an inlaw who I really didn't know was still collecting payments.  So sorry to hear that the system was being abused but hope the scoundrel got his "just desserts"

1 Answer

+7 votes
Thank You Vic. Important to know.
answered by Trudy Roach G2G6 Pilot (166k points)

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