While I fully understand the thinking behind making it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain full SS-5's from the Social Security Administration, in order to prevent identity fraud, I cannot understand eliminating the SSDI [Social Security Death Index].
The SSDI has already been changed to the point that social security numbers have been eliminated from the index when one is researching them online. And I can understand this, while I don't like it, I do understand it. However, part of the process in order to obtain an SS-5, was in providing the participant's social security number, thus making it almost impossible for an individual to obtain copies of this document.
I know for myself that in obtaining an unredacted copy of the SS-5 I have uncovered many, many clients information for their family studies. [I unfortunately lost $27 on the last record I ordered, as between the time I ordered it, and the time it was sent, only redacted copies were being sent back. A nice letter of apology came with the mucked over copy, but no refund!]
Isn't there a much more simpler way to prevent the identy fraud/ theft and still allow family members/ genealogy researchers to obtain necessary information?
I believe the simplest solution of all is simply making sure the individual who requests a copy is identifying themselves. A full copy of their picture ID AND birth certificate, along with a genealogical tree that connects them to the participant should eliminate alot of questions. I know that most states require this for obtaining a birth record today.
It would also help that when a number has been reported through death certificate that an individual is deceased, that when a request has been made, the number would be brought up as deceased when an individual attempts to use it illicitly.
I mean, come on... when the US Government has stopped SS benefits because an elderly person is deceased...why do they then reopen the file allowing someone new to claim the number????
Children's numbers being used by adults??? Come on... when a social security number is assigned at birth, and the deceased child is four or five years of age, how can someone who is an adult have use of it! That should bring up a red flag within the SSA.
I blame all of this nonsense on the SSA being mal-organized and its authority abused. A simple program written for red flagging birth years or dates that do not match could be added to the programming. When personnel don't find, let it be alerted through automaton.
Come on ... when the US Government can flag the Library system's use, listen in to your telephone conversation from space, or red flag your personal blog, why can't they keep track of a simple Social Security number?
Let's keep fighting for our FOIA rights. It is our right to know about our ancestors. Let's not allow ourselves to be denied access to information that should be ours.
And that's where I stand.