What Are Death Records in Connecticut?
Death records in Connecticut are official documents of deaths that occur within the state’s boundaries. Recording death events and their causes provide an insight into the problems with the state’s healthcare system. Before the statewide recording of death, towns in Connecticut registered cases of deaths in their localities. By 1897, however, Connecticut began the collation of deaths at the state level, and the State Vital Records Office was tasked with the maintenance of these records. The Vital Record Office is a division of the Connecticut Department of Public Health. The following information is entered on a typical Connecticut death record:
- Name of a deceased person
- Decedent’s date of birth
- Date of death
- Decedent’s place of birth
- Place of death
- Decedent's Social Security Number (SSN)
- Parents’ names
- Decedent’s marital status at the time of death
- Name of decedent’s last spouse
- Cause of death
- Physician’s certification
In Connecticut, death records are public records and can be obtained by any member of the public who is age 18 years and older. Interested persons must, however, provide some information about the decedent to obtain death certificates. The inclusion of decedents’ SSNs on death certificates became conditional with increased fraud cases involving identity thefts. The state restricts access to such information to only certain persons. In Connecticut, death records are required by named beneficiaries to process decedents’ insurance benefits.
How Are Death Records Created In Connecticut?
Connecticut law recommends that deaths must be filed with the local Registrar within five business days if filed manually by paper. Electronic filing of a death event takes a shorter time of three calendar days. After filing death records with the Registrar in Connecticut, interested persons can obtain copies upon request.
How To Find Death Records Online In Connecticut
In Connecticut, interested individuals can look up death records registered between 1867 and 1969 online via the Connecticut Death Records Index managed by the Connecticut State Library. The information available for death records on the index is scanty. However, such information can be used to obtain certified copies of death certificates at the State Vital Records Office as it is a confirmation of death registration. Connecticut also partners some third-party vital records vendors to execute online death record applications. Such private service providers receive applications online and forward the requests to the State Vital Records Office to process and issue requested records.
Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:
- The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
- The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.
While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government-sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.
How To Find Death Records For Free In Connecticut
Certified copies of death records are not free in Connecticut. However, Section 7-74(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes makes provisions for persons who are intimately related to deceased veterans to obtain one free certified copy of their death records. Requesters seeking to explore this waiver must submit their applications with valid photo identification documents and proof of relationship to such veterans. They must also indicate the status of the decedent as a veteran in their requests to benefit from the one-time waiver.
Interested persons can obtain certified copies of death records in Connecticut from the State Vital Records Office of the Connecticut Department of Public Health. They can equally do so at the Vital Records Offices in each of the 169 towns in the state. Requesters should complete a Request for a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate Form and attach photocopies of one of the following valid identity documents:
- Driver’s license
- State-issued identification card
- Current military ID
Alternatively, an applicant can tender any two of the following secondary identification documents if they do not possess a valid ID:
- Social security card
- Medical Insurance card
- Requester’s current utility bill showing name and address
- Voter’s registration card
- Car registration showing name and address
- Valid government-issued trade or professional license
- Valid government-issued firearm permit
- Probation documents issued by the court or other government agency (if applicable)
- Any letter from a government agency issued within the last six months before the request that confirms identity
- Military discharge paper
- Valid school or college photographic identification
- A government-issued photo ID that expired not more than 12 months before the request
The State Registrar may require a requester to submit more than two of these secondary identity documents if unsatisfied with the two IDs tendered for an application. Completed applications and applicable fees can be submitted in person or by mail.
Where Can I Get Death Records in Connecticut?
Applicants seeking to obtain certified copies of death records in Connecticut can do so at the State Vital Records Office or the Vital Records Office in any town. To obtain a copy of a Connecticut death record from the State Vital Records Office, an applicant should submit a Request for a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate in person or by mail at/to:
CT Department of Public Health
State Vital Records Office
410 Capitol Avenue First Floor
Hartford, CT 06106
The Office processes walk-in requests between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for public holidays. Requesters can contact the State Vital Records Office at (860) 509-7700 for further clarifications. All mail requests should be enclosed with applicants’ self-addressed stamped envelopes and proof of payments.
Also, persons interested in obtaining death records in Connecticut can submit completed applications at the Vital Records Office located in the decedents’ place of death.
Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Death Certificate in Connecticut?
Death records are publicly available in Connecticut. Anyone can obtain certified copies only if they can provide primary information about the decedent. However, certain parts of the information on Connecticut death certificates are only released to specific persons. Death certificates for deaths occurring after July 1, 1997, no longer bear the decedents’ Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Further restrictions are placed on Connecticut death certificates for deaths occurring after December 31, 2001, as additional information is now redacted. The entire “Administrative Purposes” section on the certificate containing the following information is no longer public:
- The decedent’s SSN
- Decedent’s occupation, business, or industry
- Decedent’s educational level
- Hispanic Origin
However, no information in a Connecticut death certificate is concealed from specific persons. Such persons include:
- Immediate family members of the decedent (Spouse, child, or parents)
- Executors of the decedent’s estates
- Parties specified on the death certificate, such as informants, funeral directors, or certifying physicians. These people must show proof of authorization by the decedent’s immediate family. However, they must order certified copies of a death record within 60 days of the death event to the entire information on the record
- Other persons authorized by the Connecticut Department of Public Health
How Much Does a Death Certificate Cost in Connecticut?
It costs $20 to obtain a certified copy of a death certificate in Connecticut at the State Vital Records Office and those that operate in Connecticut towns. Death certificate applications through third-party vital records vendors attract additional costs to cover shipping and processing fees. Connecticut also issues death certificates for fetal deaths. Such requests can only be filed with the State Vital Records Office. The Office charges $30 for a copy of a fetal death certificate.
Requesters can pay by cash or money orders for in-person applications. Credit cards and personal checks are not authorized as means of payment by the State Vital Records Office. Requesters should make money orders payable to the Treasurer, State of Connecticut, for mail-in requests to the State Vital Records Office. Money orders for applications to any of the 169 Vital Records Offices in Connecticut towns should be paid by any means advised by those offices.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Death Certificate In Connecticut?
Connecticut death record requests submitted at the Vital Records Offices in the towns are processed faster compared to the State Vital Records Office. The usual waiting time for death record requests at the State Vital Records Office can be up to 12 weeks. The Vital Records Offices in the towns fulfill death record requests between four to six weeks after the receipt of applications. Some towns offer expedited services for mail-in requests sent through overnight postal service. Such requests are processed and returned on the next business day, provided the applicants provide pre-paid envelopes with the correct return addresses.
How Long To Keep Records After Death
Connecticut recommends the maintenance of decedents’ records for some years after death. Some records and the number of years they should be kept after the owners’ death include:
- Medical records - The Connecticut Public Health Code recommends that all parts of a patient’s medical records be retained for three years after death. Specific medical records are kept for a longer period.
- Business and financial records – A decedent’s business and financial records are kept for a minimum of seven years. This is to allow for the passage of the three-year statute of limitation placed on the IRS to audit the decedent’s financial records.
How To Expunge Death Records In Connecticut
Expungement is the court-ordered erasure of all or parts of a person’s record. In Connecticut, expunged records are not publicly available. The state does not have any provisions for death record expungements.
How To Seal Death Records In Connecticut
At present, Connecticut does not seal death records.
How to Unseal Death Records in Connecticut
There is no reason to unseal death records in Connecticut since there are no provisions for sealing them in the first place.