Well it sounds like the government is tightening up the rules some more.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has possibly switched to a
different policy regarding what you receive when you send in your $27
for a photocopy of the actual SS-5 form of a deceased person.
In the past you would receive a copy of the actual document that your
ancestor filled out in their own handwriting and with their actual signature.
Apparently you now will receive the computerized database form called
NUMIDENT. This not an actual copy, it is excerpts of the actual form.
Thanks to Jan Meisels Allen for the heads up on this and you can read
one person’s account on rootsweb at http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec?htx=message&r=rw&p=localities.northam.usa.states.newyork.counties.newyork&m=4884
You can read the SSA’s official policies regarding name change and NUMIDENT on their policy website at http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0100203210
It is typical bureaucratic gobbledygook but I do not see any official announcement. One thing that is interesting is that in some cases it would be helpful to have a copy of both reports, particularly if there had ever been name changes due to marriage, naturalization, court order, adoption, and myriad other reasons including same sex marriage in Massachusetts.