Makeup of Death Master File Changed
Effective November 1, 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is no longer including state death records in the SSA's Master Death File (DMF). The law governing this action is found at www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title02/0205.htm. Section 205(r) prohibits the SSA from disclosing state death records it receives, except in limited circumstances.
Since it can no longer add these entries, the SSA further decided to remove 4.2 million existing state records from the DMF. This removal represents a little over 4.7% of the entire database. One of the significant pieces of information that the state records data added to the DMF was the last known residence (state, county) of a subject.
Please note that the SSA does not have a death record for all persons. The DMF as a verification tool is good, but the absence of a particular person does not guarantee the person is alive.
Effective January 1, 2012, the fee for a certified copy of a birth, death, or fetal death certificate increases by $2.00 per record. This increase will take place at the California Department of Heath (CADH) and also at the county level. The fees at various county clerk and recorder's offices vary and do not necessarily have the same fee structure as the CADH.
The fee increase is part of Assembly Bill 1053 signed by the governor. The legislation also provides for two additional $2.00 increases to take place January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2014. View AB-1053 at www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html.