The Social Security Administration (SSA), the number 1 death source in the country, is missing death records which has resulted in increased pension overpayments (fraud) and limited the ability of plan sponsors and Third-Party Administrators to identify deceased participants and reunite beneficiaries with pension benefits.
In November of 2011, the SSA drastically reduced the number of records reported in the DMF (Death Master File) by no longer including state-protected death records. This was due to re-interpretation of Section 205r of the Social Security Act that determined it could no longer disclose state death records unless these deaths were independently reported to the SSA through a “First-Party Source” (Family & Friends, Funeral Homes, Coroners, Hospitals, Nursing Facilities, etc.).
WHAT’S THE IMPACT?
The SSA estimated that these changes would result in 1 MILLION Less Death Records being reported annually. In the following years after these changes took place, PBI has received an average of 1.4 million fewer death records in 2016 from the SSA. That’s a 50% decrease. The following graph illustrates the significant impact these changes have had on the numbers of SSA death records reported from the DMF.