I feel somewhat self-conscious about asking this question, since scam-artists are often interested obtaining social security numbers.

However, my mother died.

I am unable to get a death certificate from the state of Arizona without providing my mother's social security number.

If anybody disbelieved me about my mother's death, I could easily put them in touch with the police detective who investigated my mother's death.

Any skeptics could also contact the Pima County Medical Examiner's office.

I paid the state of Arizona about $55 for a death certificate roughly one month ago. No social security number was asked for. However, I recently learned that the state of Arizona will not anyone a certified death certificate untill a non-governmental entity creates a death certificate.

The private citizen must file the death certificate with the recorder's office.

Within seven calendar days after receiving possession of human remains, a responsible person who takes possession of the human remains shall:

  • Obtain and complete the information, including the social security number of the decedent, on the death certificate required pursuant to this chapter and rules adopted pursuant to this chapter.

  • Provide on the death certificate the name and address of the person completing the death certificate.

  • Submit the death certificate for registration to a local registrar, a deputy local registrar or the state registrar. The responsible person may submit the death certificate by electronic means in the format prescribed by the state registrar.

The problem is, I don't know my mother's social security number

I know my mother's legal name.
I know my maternal grandparent's legal names.
I know the name of the city my mother was born in.

I know everything about my mother, except her social security number.

How on earth do you convince the United States government to divulge a dead relative's social security number?

I want to make a death certificate and file it with the recorder's office.

Normally, a funeral director would do this, but I cannot afford one, and I am burying her myself.

  • Closely related question: law.stackexchange.com/questions/60998/… Feb 10, 2021 at 1:13
  • I can imagine a Catch-22 in which the Social Security Administration would give you her SSN after you informed them that she had died, but that you wouldn't be able to inform them of her death without her SSN. More seriously, do you have access to any income tax forms she may have filed or any 1099 forms she may have received?
    – phoog
    Feb 10, 2021 at 2:18
  • Bank account records might also hold an SSN, and any bank where she had an account should know it. Feb 10, 2021 at 2:40

1 Answer 1


You can fill out Form SS-5 Application for Social Security card. The instructions attached to the form indicate the needed documents. They will include:

  • the person's (in this case your mother's) birth certificate or other evidence of her age;
  • Evidence of the person's US citizenship or immigration status;
  • Evidence of identity of the person, most often a current driver's license or state ID card;
  • Evidence of your right to apply on her behalf;
  • Evidence of your identity;

The form give a website and telephone number for questions. Documents must be originals or certified copies.

Or you can complete Form SSA-711 Request for Deceased Person's Social Security Record. This involves a fee. It can also be completed online The contact number provided with the SS-5 form may be able to help with this also.

However, the FAQ Page for SSA-711 is not entirely clear on whether the transcript will include the SSN.

Bank account records might also hold an SSN, and any bank where she had an account should know it.

  • Since SSA-711 provides the person's original application, do you have evidence that they also provide the assigned SS number?
    – user6726
    Feb 10, 2021 at 2:26
  • @user6726 I t6ook the FAQ page, now linked in the answer, to indicate thsat, but on a 2nd look it is not at all clear. Perhaps SS-5 is the way to go, if there are no records such as tax forms available. Feb 10, 2021 at 2:39

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