Death Master File

DEATH MASTER FILE.
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Streamline Verify offers easy, automated monthly searches of the DMF for large and small corporations.  Our sophisticated, user-friendly software searches the DMF and sends you instant notification of all flagged matches.

DEATH MASTER FILE FAQS

1

WHAT IS THE DEATH MASTER FILE?

The Death Master File, or DMF, is the master list of citizen deaths known to the Social Security Administration.  The file contains over 86 million records of deceased social security number holders, including names, dates of birth, and dates of death, in addition to the social security number of each decedent.

2

WHO USES THE DEATH MASTER FILE?

The Death Master File is utilized by:
• Employers
• Financiers
• Security Companies
• Insurance Firms
• Compliance Officers
• State and local governments
• Medical researchers
• Hospitals

3

WHY USE THE DEATH MASTER FILE?

Employers, financiers, and security companies utilize the DMF to protect themselves from unscrupulous individuals, employees or borrowers who are operating under an assumed identity.
Life insurance firms utilize the DMF in order to know when to cease paying annuities, and are required by law in some states to search the DMF on a regular basis in order to guarantee that benefits are paid to the heirs of the deceased.
Businesses that use consumer reports, under the new rules, must adopt a plan to detect, prevent and mitigate identity theft.

4

HOW IS THE DEATH MASTER FILE SEARCHED?

The Death Master File may be searched manually with individual queries; through batch queries; or through the purchase of raw data.  The search may also be performed automatically through custom software designed for this purpose by third-party companies.  Companies that currently utilize custom software to search the OIG database of excluded individuals and entities may have the option of incorporating DMF searches into their current software package..

5

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SEARCH THE DEATH MASTER FILE?

The Social Security Administration offers a range of options for searching the Death Master File. Essentially, users have three options: query searches; purchase of raw data; and contracting with a third party.
Query Searches must be performed by company staff, and range from $600 for 1,000 queries to $14,400 for 1 million custom queries. The company is charged for each query, every time a search is conducted. Be advised that query searches do NOT give the company access to the DMF data files. The query search merely confirms whether or not a particular name matches existing DMF files at the time of the query.
Raw Data Purchases entitle the user to download the entire Death Master File, and may be acquired through the NTIS website for approximately $15,000. The user is required to purchase regular updates, to ensure that the raw data remains current and complete. Be advised that the purchase of raw data does NOT include the requisite software for performing searches. Purchasers must construct their own software programs in order to be able to efficiently search the raw data files.
Third Party Companies perform regular searches of the DMF on behalf of their client at reduced rates. Third party companies utilize their own proprietary software to search the DMF’s raw data files, enabling them to keep costs down for the end user without sacrificing quality control.

6

WHAT IS THE EASIEST WAY TO SEARCH THE DEATH MASTER FILE?

Each business must choose the option that works best for its own individual needs.  Businesses that perform irregular, small-scale searches would be best off conducting query searches on an as-needed basis.  Large corporations that perform comprehensive searches on a regular basis may choose to purchase the raw data and create the infrastructure necessary to use it effectively, or to contract with a third party company that can assume the entire burden of DMF searches.

DEATH MASTER FILE RESOURCES

1

Official Social Security Administration Death Master File Database:

https://www.ssdmf.com/

2

Insurance companies require DMF searches prior to contracting with providers:

http://www.affinityplan.org/Providers/Be-Part-of-the-Team/Credentialing/Credentialing/

3

Local governments neglected to search DMF, paid health benefits to deceased retirees:

http://osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093017/15s47.pd
http://osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/bseaudits/bse20170809.htm

4

NYS law requires life insurance companies to conduct quarterly searches of the DMF:

https://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/r_finala/2014/rf200t.pdf

5

Insurance Commissioner praise life insurance firms for successful integration of DMF searches into company policy

http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0400-news/0100-press-releases/2014/release129-14.cfm

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