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SSA Online Verification Service

OVERS' death registration system includes the ability to confirm a decedent's Social Security Number (SSN) electronically via the Social Security Administration (SSA)'s Online Verification Service (OVS).

SSA OVS availability (Pacific Time)

Monday-Friday 2:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Saturday 2:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Sunday 5:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Federal Holidays
Same availability hours as Monday - Sunday
for the day on which the holiday occurs

If you are attempting to confirm a social security number outside of the hours shown here, you will likely receive a ‘SYSERROR’ message.

Frequently Asked Questions for OVS

Question: Why did I continue to receive a “name failure” when all verification attempts imply the name is correct?

Answer: All identifying information must match the SSN provided. If the SSN is a valid number, SSA assumes it’s correct and begins to match against the other identifying information, such as Name and Date of Birth. The SSN provided could belong to a different individual, in which case the name would not match. The user should re-check the SSN as well as the name before resubmitting.

Here are some helpful hints in finding the right SSN:

  • Always take the SSN from the Social Security Card of the decedent, when possible.
  • If the SSN provided is from SSA correspondence or the Medicare Card of the decedent, assume that is the SSN of the decedent only if A, T, TA, M, or M1 follows the number.

Question: What should I do if I continue to receive a failed SSN response?

Answer: Oregon requires the funeral service practitioner to collect and submit the SSN of the decedent. Once the family has been asked and any available documents requested/examined, the funeral service practitioner can sign the Report of Death in OVERS and move forward.

Question: When does the funeral home have to send the SSA 721 form?

Answer: If using OVS in OVERS, the SSA 721 form is not required by the Social Security Administration. (This 2007 letter from CHS and SSA provides more details.) If OVS fails after five attempts, it is a courtesy to the family to send the SSA 721 form to your local Social Security Office but it is not required. The Social Security Administration will receive notice of the death through the daily file even when OVS fails.

Question: I received a response that the system is down or unavailable. When will it be available?

Answer: SSA will accept and process requests for SSN verification 2 a.m. – 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, 2 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday, and 5 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Sunday. OVS is available regular hours on Federal holidays. OVS is not available when maintenance is being performed on the system. A listserv message is sent whenever CHS is notified of scheduled maintenance.

If you receive a SYSERR or other response indicating a connection problem, please contact the OVERS help desk at 971-673-0279.

Question: I tried several name variations with the SSN. OVERS now shows (5) and OVS is inactive. How can I check the SSN?

Answer: SSA allows five attempts to successfully verify an SSN. If unsuccessful, OVS will not allow additional attempts. Continue processing the death record with the best known SSN. As a courtesy to the family, you can fax a SSA 721 form to your local office since the SSA verification through OVS was unsuccessful.

Question: I’ve only tried three times to verify the SSN. Now OVS is locked up and won’t let me submit the SSN for verification.

Answer: While OVS is used to confirm the SSN of the decedent, that is not the official notification of the death. Each day, records with a ‘Personal Valid’ or ‘Personal Valid with Exceptions’ status that have not previously been sent to SSA are extracted into a file that is sent to SSA. OVS is not available after the record has been extracted to SSA.

Question: How is SSA officially notified of a death?

Answer: While OVS is very useful in confirming the SSA of a decedent, the official notice to SSA occurs when records have ‘Personal Valid’ (with or without exceptions) status regardless of whether the record is signed. The records are extracted from OVERS and a file is sent to SSA each work day.

Question: Now I have the correct SSN, but the record was already sent to SSA and registered. How do I submit a correction for the record?

Answer: If the SSN was not confirmed through OVS, the Center for Health Statistics will amend the record based on a correction affidavit (electronic or paper) from the funeral service practitioner.

If the SSN matched the decedent name, date of birth and sex through OVS, the Center for Health Statistics will amend the death record only if documentation (such as the decedent’s SSA card) is also submitted.

We cannot submit a correction to SSA electronically. SSA’s system only accepts a record once. The family can take a certified copy of the amended death record to SSA to show the correct information.

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