You can view the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) online via many genealogy websites including Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, GenealogyBank, Fold3, and Findmypast. A person who died before 1962 is not likely to be on the SSDI. If the date of a person’s death is known, and that person is not on the SSDI, it is likely the family never filed for the death benefit.
From the SSDI, you can glean information such as dates of birth and death; place of last benefit; Social Security number; and what state the Social Security number was issued in. Getting a copy of the application can be most helpful. These documents list the person’s date of birth, place of birth, parents’ names, address at the time of application and as a bonus, you get an original signature!
Once you find the information for the person you are searching you can request a copy of the Social Security record from the Social Security website. Our “United States: Vital Records” course will teach you more about using the Social Security Death Index for your research.