26 December 2011

Social Security Administration extends FOIA restriction to 100 years

Example of a Case Where I Did NOT Know Who The Parents Were Until Receiving This SS-5

Last month, Megan Smolenyak Smoleynak on her Roots World blog, posted that it’s now official that the Social Security Administration has extended its FOIA restriction to 100 years.  This is very, very unfortunate.  I have frequently used such requests of someone’s SS-5 to learn the “parents” of that person in order to be able to extend research back a generation.

According to Megan’s blog post ...

“... A few years ago, I noticed that they were starting to block out names of parents on the applications – which is very unfortunate since that’s the primary reason for ordering them.  Still, the restriction seemed to pertain to applications for those born from 1940 or so on, and the explanation was that their parents could still be alive.  So though I wasn’t keen on it, I could understand the logic.

But recently – without any announcement – the Administration extended the restriction to 100 years – that is, 100 years from the birth of the applicant, so you can now only obtain this record in an unaltered state for those born prior to 1912 ... I can apparently receive the full application if I can prove that the parents are deceased, but 1) that’s a catch-22 since that’s exactly why I usually ordered the document in the first place...”

Read the full post.

Editor's Note: See this Genealogy Insider post about Rootsweb no longer providing free SSDI access and some of your options with regard to where you can still access the SSDI.

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