The SS-5 form is the form a person fills out to apply for a United States social security number. These forms are available for deceased individuals and can be obtained from the Social Security Administration. They can be an excellent genealogical source--depending upon the person and the family situation. The person does not have to be in the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) in order for a researcher to obtain a copy of the SS-5 form. The person does have to be deceased to obtain a copy of the card.
Anyone who had a Social Security Number completed an SS-5 form or had one completed for them.
It is easier (read: cheaper) to obtain the form if you have the person's social security number. This can be obtained from the Social Security Death Index, the person's death certificate, or other sources. You can request an SS-5 form from the Social Secutiry Administration (link below) if you know the person is dead,but you don't have the social security number.
While the SS-5 form contains some of the same information as is on the death certificate, it is important to remember that most people filled out their own SS-5 form. Most people usually don't fill out their own death certificate. In some cases, the SS-5 form may contain information previously unknown.
The form on the page is for my wife's grandmother. The father's name listed on this form is different from the name of the father listed on her death certificate. In this case, it was a significant clue.
You can easily search the index via the link below-- or you can search the Social Security Death Index at Genealogy Bank. Their version of the SSDI is the most current and is free.
Getting the SS-5 Application
|SS5 form for Anna Margaret Lake|
- If the person is in the Social Security Death Index, obtain their entry in the SSDI so you have complete information.
- If the person is NOT in the Social Security Death Index, visit the Social Security Administration page for more information on your options.
- Want to order online or need more information? This SSA page has additonal information.
- Want to us the US mail to make your request? Print out an order form here. Getting the person's number from other records (if possible) is an excellent idea.
From the SSA website:
Fees For Processing Requests For Individual’s Social Security Record
Request for copy of Original Application for Social Security Card (Form SS-5), SSN Provided (Printout from microfilm)
Request for copy of Original Application for Social Security Card (Form SS-5), SSN Not Provided (Printout from microfilm)
Request for Computer Extract of Social Security Number Application, SSN Provided (*Numident only requested)
Search for Information about Death of an Individual, SSN Provided (SSA does not usually have place of death, burial, or cause of death)
Search for Information about Death of an Individual, SSN Not Provided(SSA does not usually have place of death, burial, or cause of death)
Forward a letter to inform a person about entitlement to money