FOIA Advisor

Q&A: Figuring out Social Security

Q&A (2018)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q. I am trying to find out a way I might be able to complete a FOIA request with the Social Security Administration for a deceased person’s records, besides the two standard options made available on SSA’s website for requesting a deceased individual's social security record. Also, Is there some way that I could request certified copies?

A. You can send a FOIA request to the Social Security Administration via the government website FOIAonline. Alternatively, you may mail a request to: Social Security Administration, Office of Privacy and Disclosure, 617 Altmeyer Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235. No special form is required. In either case, I would suggest submitting proof of the subject’s death (e.g., obituary, death certificate), or evidence that the deceased was born more than 100 years ago.

Neither the Freedom of Information Act nor SSA's FOIA regulations require the agency from certifying copies of responsive records.  But SSA may agree to provide that service. See  20 C.F.R.  § 402.165(e) (“Certifying that records are true copies. This service is not required by the FOIA. If we agree to provide it, we will charge $10 per certification.)