The curves are presented by cohort of patients discharged before and after November to emphasize the effect DMF change. The analysis was limited to New York State residents only with discharges on or before December 31, Statistical analysis was performed using R 3.
Are We Going to Lose the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)?
Overall patients died in hospital, 5. Of them, 17 were matched directly on SSN; one case was matched on name. The sensitivity of the DMF dropped to The Kappa coefficient decreased to 0. The Kappa coefficient likewise remained very high at 0.
Mortality data were available for NJ patients through December 31, Historically, the DMF was shown to be a reliable source of death data for elderly individuals, with 96 percent of deaths of patients over the age of 65 captured. The implications of this change have been a source of concern since at least The current study is the first to our knowledge to examine the effects of the change in the DMF using a very large cohort of general and specialty surgical cases.
Certification requires that a researcher demonstrates a legitimate purpose to access DMF data, and has systems and procedures to secure the data. This extra layer of requirements creates more barriers to research use of the DMF. Lack of data results in reported survival that is artificially higher and reduces the number of true deaths in any study.
With fewer deaths, effect size is smaller, and the power of a study to find a true difference between groups is reduced. The DMF is used not only for research but also by hospitals for quality, safety, and performance monitoring. While there are alternative sources of death data for patients in the United States, few offer the broad coverage of the DMF. State and local vital records may be difficult or impossible to obtain for researchers in different localities.
Commercial obituary record agencies such as ObituaryData. The Centers for Disease Control National Death Index NDI is a centralized database of death records that can be used for research studies, but not for administrative tasks. Requests are expensive, must be submitted via mail on a compact disk, and have a long turnaround time.
Other US death data sources are restricted to subpopulations. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services CMS includes vital status in data extracts, but these extracts cannot be used to query for a specific patient. In contrast to the DMF, local state databases likely remain a reliable source of death data. There is often also a significant lag time for release of death date.
An interesting finding in our study was that the number of available SSNs in our dataset declined by about 15 percent between the two periods. The Social Security Number has become a fixture of American life since the first cards were issued in The near universality of the number among Americans adults has led the SSN to become a de facto national identification number. However, concern over the SSN's use in varied contexts and the rise of identity theft have created a strong push at governmental and commercial levels to eliminate the use of SSNs as identifiers.
The current Medicare identifier is based on the patient's SSN and will be replaced with a new identifier starting in April Our analysis was limited to data from a single tertiary care center, and the majority of the patients were residents of a single state New York. It is possible that other states might have more permissive death data use agreements with the SSA and that DMF data would be more reliable for those states. This is unlikely given that the changes made to the DMF were done at the federal level.
We are unable to speculate on the source of this decline since we did not examine cause of death or severity of illness. While this will no doubt increase the coverage of the DMF, the full impact of the addition of these records remains to be seen. Let's start with who is not in the SSDI. Everyone who received a Social Security number or paid withholding tax is not in the database.
My grandmother, who paid withholding taxes most of her life, looked forward to collecting benefits upon retirement at age 60 in Her death was not reported to the Social Security Administration by anyone. Everyone who received Social Security benefits is not in the database. A young man died in , leaving a pregnant wife. The child received Social Security benefits based on her father's benefits until she was eighteen years old. Yet no record of her father exists in the SSDI. Because his death was not reported to the Social Security Administration.
He was 26 years old when he died, so there was no reason to notify the SSA.
History of Social Security
A survivor may have requested death benefits from the SSA. A family member may have notified the SSA to stop benefits to the deceased. A funeral home may have notified the SSA as a service to the family.
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- Social Security Death Index (SSDI).
- An Excellent First Resource;
When does this index begin? The SSA began to use a computer database in About 98 percent of the people in the SSDI died after , although a few deaths do date back as far as This version offers one feature that others do not -- it reports foreign death residences. In addition, several software companies include the SSDI as part of their deluxe programs, or offer it for sale separately. Be selective as you use different versions of searchable SSDI databases. Try all of them and decide for yourself which is the most flexible, offering you the option to search by first name only, along with birth date, to try to find those females whose married names you don't know.
SSDI Search – How to Find Hard to Find Ancestors
Use them to find out what happened to your great uncle, you have no idea when he died or where his family went. Search by his name and birth date, and see if a record reveals a location of last residence or location where his benefits were sent. When you find a person in the SSDI, you will glean a few facts that you may not have known. Take it one step beyond these facts to learn more.
You know a birth date, and the state where the original Social Security card was issued, or at least where it was mailed to the applicant. Look for a birth certificate or census record in that state. The SS-5, Application for Social Security Account Number, contains the following information: Social Security number, full name including women's maiden names , address at time of application, employer and employer's address pre applications only , age at last birthday, date and place of birth, parents' full names including mother's maiden name , sex, color, and whether the applicant had previously applied for Social Security or Railroad Retirement.
It also contains the application date and the applicant's actual signature. Wouldn't you like to have this information about the person you are researching?
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Include these keywords Exclude these keywords Use a range. Social Security Number.
Social Security Death Index
Last Known Residence City. ZIP Code. Start at the end. Our social security death index records are integrated with the other GenealogyBank online collections for the most robust family history research tool.