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A. Schuyler
A. Schuyler, Research Analyst
Category: General
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Experience:  30 years in research
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What are the options to search by social security number for

Resolved Question:

What are the options to search by social security number for living/dead people? I know about the social security death index on, but what about other sites and options?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 6 years ago.



Welcome to Just Answer and thanks for your question. I'm sorry no one has responded to you. The experts at Just Answer do not work for individuals offline. All research is conducted through this forum.


The Social Security Death Index is the best and only way that individuals can search Social Security numbers of people who have died. Even those are not necessarily up to date. There is no way that anyone can search Social Security numbers of living people since that is personal and confidential information.


If you have a specific question, you can post it here, and see if someone has the answer.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The Social Security Administration says that you can search their records (but offline) - source: . Is this true ?

Also, they offer a 'letter forwarding service', I guess it is: you send them the social security number and the letter, and they forward it to the missing person. Is this true?
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 6 years ago.

1. Yes, you can search their Death records offline, or they will do it for you, but they do not put together a social security number and a living person for you. That would be a serious infringement of personal privacy and make stealing a person's identity no trouble at all for crooks.


2. I had never heard of the letter forwarding, and don't know how that would work, since there is no way to get the Social Security number of a living person.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Other.
I think there is someone here who must know something more about this topic.
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 6 years ago.

I'm sorry you don't appreciate the facts. Social security numbers of living people are not searchable. Period. I will opt out though since no one can give you the answer you want.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hey Schuyler, it seems you're right.

I'll choose you as a winner, just can you do one small thing for me? Since you live in the US, can you call the social security administration number and ask them to explain more about this 'letter forwarding' service they have? Can you ask them if they need ONLY the social security number of the person in order to provide a letter or need MORE than the social security number (like last name etc.)

Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 6 years ago.

I'll be glad to do that when they are open. As you may know tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day and many government offices are closed for holiday. They will reopen Tuesday and I will telephone them Tuesday afternoon after I get off work.


Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 6 years ago.

I just found this link online, which gives the guidelines for Social Security to forward letters to living people. See if this gives you all the information you need, or if you still need me to call. I've done genealogy research for 25 years, and this is the first I've known that this is even possible.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yeah, I've read that but this is the confusing part:

The missing person's name and the identifying information;

I don't understand this.

I've sent them an email and they responded:

"To try to locate an address in our records, we need the missing person’s Social Security number or identifying information to help us find the number. The identifying information needed is the person’s date and place of birth, the father’s name, and the mother’s full birth name."

Can you call and ask them: What if I don't know the person's date and place of birth, the father's name and the mother's full name? What if I know ONLY the person's social security number? Can I send a forwarding letter if I know ONLY the social security number?

Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 6 years ago.

Now that I know the answer to Smile


If you have the person's Social Security number, that is all they need to find the person so they can forward a letter. They only require the parents' names, date and place of birth, etc. if you don't have the Social Security number.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
But I'm confused one...why would someone need to find a MISSING person if he/she ONLY knows his/her social security number (and not name)? Any ideas?
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 6 years ago.

I don't make the rules, and like most government rules, they don't always make a lot of sense. Trying to think this one out though, if a person such as yourself knows the Social Security number (SSN), then it takes about a nanosecond to find that individual in their database. If all the person has is names and dates it is going to take considerably longer to search. I would also think that if the person were missing and you knew his SSN, then presumably you already knew most of the other stuff as well.



A. Schuyler and 36 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for the assistance. I accepted your answer. If you can call SSA and ask them to clarify though (it's a toll free number) I would be really grateful.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'll need more answers on these topics so would definitely look for your expertise in the future.
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 6 years ago.

I will look forward to helping you. Have a great day!