NOTE: When a body is returned to the U.S., you may be able to secure evidence of death
from a U.S. source, e.g., a certified copy of the public record of death. When a person
dies and the body is not returned to the U.S., see instructions in GN 00304.100B.2.
Obtain one of these proofs:
A copy of, or a statement as to, the contents of the public record of death certified
by the custodian or the FO employee;
A statement of death on an SSA-795 executed by the attending physician, superintendent,
physician or intern of the institution where death occurred or was confirmed;
The statement should read, for example:
“I am an authorized practitioner of medicine in the State of and attended (Name of deceased) who died (Date).”
An SSA-721 or other statement executed by the funeral director or authorized representative
as indicated on the form;
NOTE: An SSA-721 cannot be used to establish death by a funeral director filing on his/her
spouse's record. Obituaries are not considered proof of death, but can be used as
a lead to obtain other acceptable evidence of death.
Funeral directors in states that register deaths via the electronic death registration
system (EDR) are not encouraged to send the SSA-721 to the field offices because EDR
records are verified proofs of death. EDR allows SSA to receive a verified first party
fact of death report from the State within 24 hours of the State’s receipt in its
repository and within five days of death. Funeral directors using EDR, however, are
encouraged to continue to provide members of the public with the “fact sheet” portion
of the SSA-721, which provides important information about who is eligible for benefits
and how to apply for them. For instructions on using the Death Data Numident as proof
of death see the instructions in GN 00304.100B.3.a.
A certified copy of the coroner's report of death or verdict of the coroner's jury
of the State or community where death occurred.