Preventing Fraud with Limited Death Master File Access

September 30, 2015

As we have previously discussed, we continually revisit the ongoing conversation around the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. The Death Master File is one of the data sources that LifeStatus360 uses to verify and report deaths.

However, as the status of the Death Master File and the temporary access provided by the NTIS, the Death Master File continues to muddy the waters for service providers.

A major problem facing the DMF is fraud, and a great example of the issue is explained in a recent article from Government Executive, “How Many 112-Year-Olds Are Still Living, According to SSA?”* As the article details, the DMF is inaccurate. When it was readily available, people were able to take advantage of the inaccurate information and use it to their benefit fraudulently – applying for jobs, bank accounts, jobs, etc.

There are many reports that the SSA lists millions of people as “alive” even though they are well over a century old.

One could assume that any entries older than 112 could automatically be listed as deceased. As the system stands; however, no particular group is taking responsibility of the data and its maintenance and accuracy. Without an “owner,” it is unknown if the system would even allow a blanket action – Who makes that decision anyway?

Due to the inaccuracies the US Government has stepped in to try and reign in the data the DMF holds, thereby gaining control of the abuse of information. As issues like these continue to be exposed to the general public, it only fuels the heated conversations and arguments for and against the DMF. No matter the outcome, its decision will affect the way we are able to use the system – or not.

This is a major factor in why we started Life Status 360. We know that for the foreseeable future, our industry cannot rely on the DMF alone. We can also no longer rely on the continued availability of the DMF. That’s why LifeStatus360 uses multiple data sources, Plus LifeStatus360 new proprietary death sources, along with the Death Master File so we can give the most complete and accurate death status report.


*Government Executive, March 9,2015, “How Many 112-Year-Olds Are Still Living, According to SSA?”

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