Genealogy Research Network

Forensic Research Services

Requesting your Ancestor’s SS-5 Social Security Application

Discover some great facts about an ancestor. Once you’ve located a family member who is deceased, or one that is in the Social Security Death Index (generally those who died after 1960-although not complete), you may request a copy of that persons original application for Social Security. It is an excellent source of genealogical information and can provide many facts otherwise not known to descendants. The SS-5, or Application for Social Security Number  provides many great resources for learning more about someone who died after 1960, and generally includes the following pieces of information:

  • Full name at birth, including maiden name
  • Present mailing address
  • Age at last birthday
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth (City, State)
  • Father’s full name
  • Mother’s full name, including maiden name
  • Gender of applicant
  • Race as indicated by the applicant
  • Current employer’s name and address
  • Date signed
  • Applicant’s signature


As long as a person is deceased, the Social Security Administration will provide a copy of the original application filed in their office, to anyone who makes a request under the Freedom of Information Act.  In the case of my great- grandfather Jacob F. Strauss (Born 1880), I didn’t have an original Social Security Number for him, and he died in 1957 before the index really could have helped.  I did however, have a copy of his Death Certificate that listed his number and requested this from their office.

Following the link below researchers can request the documents themselves;

Request for Deceased Individual’s Social Security Record SS-5

For a fee of $27.00-if the persons SSN is known and $29.00-for someone who number is unknown, the Administration will conduct a search for the requester.  The time varies by individual.  Although, it typically can run anywhere between 4-8 weeks for delivery.  If the record is located and sent to you, it is well worth your efforts as the information provided will be helpful to future generations.

mlstrauss • September 16, 2011

Previous Post

Next Post