If the person is deceased, e.g. on the SSDI,
you can request a copy of anyone's SS-5. Cost is $7 with SSN and $16.50 without.
To find out about ordering the SS-5, the official info is at: http://www.ssa.gov/foia/foia_guide.htm
but I find that hard to read so you might try http://members.aol.com/rechtman/ssafaq.html#Section2.
It will take a few months to arrive. I would have to look at my old ones to see the info it has,
but i know it has current address & current employer (as of when they filled out the info) as well as birth date.
The person must be deceased; if they aren't on the SSDI (which is only a limited subset of the people with social security
numbers) then the SSA must have proof of death to send you the information. For one of my relatives, he wasn't
on the SSDI but his widow had submitted a death certificate to collect her benefits, so I was able to order his info.
For an alternate (older) index, check Kindred Konnections' SSDI. I also like Maura's info at
Using Social Security Records in your Search.
Here is what my FHC has to say:
Unexpected data can be found on applications for Social Security Number
Applications for Social security numbers can solve some genealogical puzzles.
Federally administered old-age insurance and other benefits went into effect under
the Social Security Act of 1935.
Applicants completed a simple form known as an "SS-5" (application for a Social
Security card). On it the following questions were asked.
Full name at birth (including maiden name)
Present mailing address
Age at last birthday
Date of birth
Place of birth
Father's full name, whether living or dead
Mother's full name, including maiden name, whether living or dead
sex and race
Ever applied for a SS number/Railroad Retirement before?
Current employer's name and address
So how do you get a copy of the SS-5? You may apply to the Social Security
Administration for a full copy of the SS-5 (application for a Social Security card)
for any deceased individual in the index. [Janet's note: they don't have to be in
the index, but you need proof of death.] If you know the name and correct Social
Security number the fee is $7.00. If the Social Security number is unknown or
incorrect the fee is $16.00. Send check or money order made payable to The Social
Security Administration, to:
Social Security Administration
Office of Central Operations - Genealogy
300 N. Greene Street
Baltimore, MD 21235
[This is their new address as of early 1998.]
Their phone number is 410-965-1727 and they have a huge backlog.