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Geneva Ratcliff

Replies: 8

Re: Geneva Ratcliff

Posted: 20 Oct 2012 2:32AM GMT
Classification: Death
Surnames: ratcliffe
IF the above lady is correct, you could apply for a copy of her SS record. This will tell you


How can I correct errors in the SSDI?
Why can't I find the person I'm looking for?
Who is listed in the SSDI?
Where does the SSDI come from?
What information does the SSDI contain?
What do each of the fields in the database mean?
What do the numbers in a Social Security number mean?
What other information is available from the Social Security Administration?
How can I get a copy of the original records?

Taken from: Porter, Pamela Boyer. 1999. "Social Security Sleuthing" Conference in the States Program Richmond VA: National Genealogical Society.

How can I correct errors in the SSDI?

If an individual claims that SSA has incorrectly listed someone as deceased (or has incorrect dates/data on the Death Master File (the database from which the Social Security Death Index is generated), the individual should contact their local social security office (with proof) to have the error corrected. That local social security office will:

Make the correction to the main file at SSA and give the individual a verification document of SSA's current records, or
If the local social security office already has the correct information on the Death Master File (probably corrected sometime prior), give the individual a verification document of SSA's records.

Why can't I find the person I'm looking for?

It could be that the person you're looking for does not meet the criteria for inclusion in the database. The index does not include living people. It is not an index to all deceased individuals who have held Social Security Numbers. It is not a database of all deceased individuals who have received Social Security Benefits, or whose families have received survivor benefits. The SSDI contains basic information about persons with Social Security numbers whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration. See the above section on who is included in the SSDI. (Porter 1999)

If the individual you seek does meet the criteria for inclusion but does not appear in the index, here are some things you might try

Try searching by possible alternate name spellings or Soundex searching.
Change dates around (e.g. instead of searching for 5 Oct 1954 [10/5/54], search for 10 May 1954 [5/10/54])
Change years around (e.g. 1984 becomes 1948)
Use all other possible spellings of the name (and perhaps some that aren't so likely). When searching for a name like O'Hare, or other names with punctuation in them, enter the name without the punctuation (e.g. OHare). If you are looking for someone using a first name but don't find what you're looking for, try searching with just an initial. There are also rare instances of what appear to be middle initials included in the last name field, so you may want to try this in that field as well.
Switch last name and first name around
Try searching for a middle name as a first name
Even if you know a piece of information, try omitting it (e.g. if you know first and last name and death date, try leaving off the first name).

If none of these yield fruit, it is possible that the SSDI has erroneously omitted your ancestor. If this is the case, see the FAQ about correcting errors in the SSDI.

Who is listed in the SSDI?

This database is an index to basic information about persons with Social Security numbers whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration. The death may have been reported by a survivor requesting benefits. It may have been reported in order to stop Social Security Benefits to the deceased. Funeral homes often report deaths to the SSA as a service to family members. Beginning in 1962, the SSA began to use a computer database for processing requests for benefits. About 98% percent of the people in the SSDI died after 1962, but a few death dates go back as far as 1937. Because legal Aliens in the U.S. can obtain a Social Security card, their names may appear in the SSDI if their deaths were reported. Some 400,000 railroad retirees are also included in the SSDI.

The Social Security Death Index is not an index to all deceased individuals who have held Social Security Numbers. It is not a database of all deceased individuals who have received Social Security Benefits, or whose families have received survivor benefits. (Porter 1999)

Where does the SSDI come from?

The following timeline offers a brief history of the SSDI:

14 Aug 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act into law.

1936-1937 Approximately 30 million U.S. residents apply for and receive Social Security numbers.

1 Jan 1937 Workers begin acquiring credits toward old-age insurance benefits, and payroll tax (FICA) withholding begins.

1947 Application for Social Security number no longer includes employer information.

1962 Electronic requests for benefits become commonly used, resulting in what is known as the Social Security Death Index.

1963 Issuance of Social Security numbers beginning with 700-728 to railroad employees was discontinued.

1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Medicare into law. Many citizens over age 65 receive Social Security cards for the first time.

1967 Department of Defense begins using Social Security numbers instead of military service numbers to identify Armed Forces personnel.

1972 SSA is required by law to issue Social Security numbers to any legally admitted alien upon entry, and to obtain evidence of age and citizenship or alien status and identity.

1972 SSA begins assigning Social Security numbers and issuing cards centrally from Baltimore, and the area number assigned is based on the mailing address zip code from the application.

1989 SSA program enables parents to automatically obtain a Social Security number for a newborn infant when the birth is registered with the state.

(Porter 1999)

What information does the SSDI contain?

The SSDI contains the following information fields:

Social Security number,
Surname,
Given Name,
Date of Death,
Date of Birth,
Last Known Residence
Location of Last Benefit
Date and Place of Issuance

with that info, + the actual date she passed, may help to find an obit - also IF she died Seattle, it may well tell you which hospital - you could then contact them to ask your question


something like
Social Security Administration
Office of Earnings Operations
FOIA Workgroup
300 N. Greene Street
P.O. Box 33022
Baltimore, Maryland 21290

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Freedom of Information Officer,

I am writing this request under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. Section 552. I hereby request a copy of the SS-5, Application for Social Security Card, or a corresponding NUMIDENT printout (see below) for the following individual:

Ratcliff, Geneva
546-46-6195
Birth: 12 Aug 1937
Death: Jun 1983

This individual is deceased, having been listed in the Social Security Administration's Death Master File. I understand the fee for this service is $27 for copy of original SS-5 application when the Social Security Number is provided. I am requesting a SS-5 copy Included is a check for $27 made out to the Social Security Administration to cover any administrative costs required by this request.

Please respond to my request upon receipt of this initial correspondence. Thank you for your attention and assistance.

Sincerely,




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SubjectAuthorDate Posted
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