Why use the Social Security Administration as a resource?
ANSWER: The SSA is able to provide some very basic genealogical information which could be crucial to your research. If the person you are researching is deceased and had a Social Security Number and you know it then chances are pretty good that you will be able to get some information from the SSA. You will need to be able to prove that the individual is deceased based on some sort of documentation stating so. The SSA will be able to provide information based on a Death Benefit if one was paid and from an individual's original application which was completed when the individual filed for a SS Card. The latter of the two is very and extremely important as this is one of only a few documents which will survive after a person's death and be an account from the individual himself as to certain personal information like birth, birthplace, parents and so on. Again this is very crucial as no third party was involved in reporting this personal information as is the case in most instances. Again, the information came directly from the person involved. To obtain a copy of an individual's SS application (Form SS-5), the SSA requires you to complete a form called "Social Security Number Record Third Party Request for Photocopy SSA-L997". It takes quite awhile for processing but is well worth the wait. Additionally, the SS Death Benefit is also very helpful. It can provide information which can allow information to be indirectly extracted from other sources like a funeral home and so on. The SSA Death Benefit Index is available on CD and can be easily searched.|
The above FAQ was graciously borrowed from FAQs of Genealogical Interest He has much more information for newbies to genealogy you should check out this site on documention to use and why it is important.