Death Master File Subscribers Mandatory Requirements

Social Security Administration
Mandatory Requirements

It ismandatory that all subscribers of the DMF intending to use its data on a continuing basis must, after receiving an updated complete SSA DMF Full File, keep that file updated by purchasing a subscription to the SSA DMF Monthly or Weekly Updates (New Deaths, Changes, Deletes), immediately beginning with the same month as the full file. If you are not meeting SSA's requirements because you are not receiving the monthly or weekly subscription immediately after receiving the Full File, then you are not keeping your DMF up-to-date with SSA's records. Thus, you are working with a DMF with an increased number of unnecessary inaccuracies and possibly adversely affecting an increased number of individuals. No one is to sell the DMF without requiring continuous subscribers to adhere to this mandatory requirement for keeping their DMF up-to-date.

Note: you, as a DMF Subscriber, are reminded that you should not take any adverse action against any individual without further investigation to verify the death listed.

If you, as a subscriber to SSA's DMF, are making available/selling SSA's DMF information to others, you must also provide them with a copy of this and the Important Information notices.

Note: Do not tell anyone to contact NTIS or SSA Headquarters for corrections! Corrections must be made at the local Social Security office serving the individual.


To all subscribers purchasing the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) Death Master File (DMF):

As a result of a court case under the Freedom of Information Act, SSA is required to release its death information to the public. You, as a subscriber/purchaser of SSA's Death Master File (DMF) are advised at the time of initial purchase that the DMF does have inaccuracies and SSA does not guarantee the accuracy of the DMF. SSA does not have a death record for all deceased persons. Therefore, the absence of a particular person on this file is not proof that the individual is alive. In addition, there is the possibility that incorrect records of death may have been entered on the DMF. If an individual seeing your copy of the DMF has a complaint that they find erroneous data/death information on that DMF, you should advise them to follow the procedures listed below. In fact, you should be providing the information below in your publication, if any, of the DMF:

Errors: If an individual claims that SSA has incorrectly listed someone as deceased (or has incorrect dates/data) on the Death Master File (DMF), the individual should contact his/her local social security office (with proof) to have the error corrected. That local social security office will:

(1) make the correction to the main NUMIDENT file at SSA and give the individual a verification document of SSA's current records to use to show to any company recipient/purchaser of the DMF that had the error,


(2) find that SSA already has the correct information on the main NUMIDENT file and DMF (probably corrected sometime prior) and give the individual a verification document of SSA's records to use to show to any company subscriber/purchaser of the DMF that had the error.

The social security office is correct at this time in saying that the problem now lies with you (the subscriber of the DMF). In the latter case (2 above), the DMF subscriber (you) probably received the incorrect death data sometime prior to the correction on SSA's main records. (The only way you can now get an updated DMF with the correction would be to again purchase the entire DMF file and keep it current with all of the Monthly or Weekly Updates--See Mandatory Requirement) You should accept proof from the individual (their own records or the verification they received from the local social security office) and correct your copy of the DMF. You should also notify any organizations to which you sold the DMF that this correction needs to be made.