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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

When is a missing person presumed dead?

1721. When is a missing person presumed dead?

We presume a person is dead if he or she has been missing from home and has not been heard from for seven years or more. This presumption applies regardless of the reason for the absence.

Once the presumption applies, it can only be disputed if we:

  1. Prove the person is alive; or

  2. Provide an explanation that explains the individual's absence and continued life.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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missing person

June 21, 2012 by Guest

My son's father has been missing since 2005. It is now at the seven year mark to make a legal death certifacate. My question is, My son was 10 years old at the time of the homicide investigation but, never found his remains..My son is now 18 and will be starting college this fall. Is he intitled to any survivors benefits.

Survivors benefits (back pay) for missing person presumed dead

June 21, 2012 by David Luhman

I could not find information regarding the possibility of back pay for the child, but I would certainly pursue that avenue. The following may be of help :

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