September 21, 2017

Implement The Star Trek Philosophy When It Comes To The SSDI

Citing the Needs of the Many

Which Star Trek character said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”? Most notably, it was Spock in the movie The Wrath of Kahn. So what does that have to do with the Social Security Death Index? To my way of thinking, it points out the essence of the mistake the government is making when it cuts the majority of us off from free access to the regularly updated index.

I too will admit to having a personal genealogical interest in this limitation of public records as did Megan Smolenyak in her article Are We Going to Lose the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)? .  I don’t think I could say anything better than she did.  We’ve also had some excellent articles about the SSDI debacle by Kimberly Powell at About: Genealogy (Social Security Administration Removing Names from Public Death Master File (aka SSDI)) as well as several others.

It seems logical to me that when the IRS was alerted to the fact that people were taking the social security numbers of deceased children and using them to claim them on their income taxes, that it was their responsibility to do due diligence and investigate it at their end.  More people than just genealogists need this database and it’s just “cutting off your nose to spite your face” to cut off access to the SSDI out of hand.


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