Searching via the Social Security Administration
Under certain conditions, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can provide assistance in locating and contacting persons in the United States. The Social Security Administration (SSA) of the HHS has established a letter-forwarding procedure to meet compelling humanitarian needs. In case of mental anguish, serious illness, or death in the immediate family, the SSA will attempt to forward a letter to the missing person through his/her last known employer.
Also, when there is a sizable monetary consideration, such as an inheritance due, of which the missing person is not aware, such an attempt will be made upon payment of a nominal fee for each letter handled. Payment should be made in form of a postal money order or a registered, certified, or cashier’s check, made payable to the Social Security Administration.
Persons who desire for the SSA to forward a letter should address their written request to:
OFFICE OF PUBLIC INQUIRIES
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
BALTIMORE, MD 21335
The letter to the SSA should explain the nature of the request and should include a separate letter intended for the missing person. The letter for the missing person should be in a plain, unsealed, stamped envelope bearing only the name and social security number of the addressee. If the social security number is not known, the requestor should include other identifying information, such as the addressee’s date and place of birth, father’s name, and mother’s maiden name. The SSA will be unable to confirm the actual delivery of the letter.
Each inquirer who is attempting to locate a person in the U.S must make the request for this service personally. There is no provision for a consular officer to file such a request on behalf of someone else.
Searching via the U.S. Army
Active Duty U.S. Army (enlisted soldiers and officers):
US ARMY ENLISTED RECORDS & EVALUATION CTR
FT. BENJAMIN HARRISON, IN 46249-5301
U.S. Army Reserve (enlisted soldiers and officers):
US ARMY RESERVE COMPONENTS PERSONNEL & ADMINISTRATION CTR
9700 PAGE BLVDST. LOUIS, MO 63132-5200
Former members of the U.S. Army:
NATIONAL PERSONNEL RECORDS CTR
9700 PAGE BLVD
ST. LOUIS, MO 63132-5200
Retired (with pension) from the U.S. Army:
US ARMY RESERVE FINANCE & ACCOUNTING CTR
ATTN RETIRED PAY OPERATIONS
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46249
Army members since 1971:
DEFENSE MANPOWER DATA CTR
1600 WILSON BLVD
ARLINGTON, VA 22209-5823
Information requests sent to the above authorities are most likely to have a positive result if the request contains the most information possible (e.g. the full name and grade of the person you are searching for, his/her Social Security Number if known, and the last known address/posting of the person being sought). Please note that if any of the offices above can locate the person you are searching for, Privacy Act restrictions will apply; the federal government may not release information about someone without his/her permission. The government must first seek permission from the individual in order to release any information, including current address. At times, the office may instead provide your letter directly to the individual, who may then choose whether or not to contact you directly.
Last updated: November 2004