Social Security Administration

Institute less stringent ID requirements for minor children

I have worked as a greeter/screener in a Social Security field office and experienced a large number of instances in which parents come in to apply for a replacement Social Security card for their young children. Generally they have a birth certificate for the child (and oftentimes they even have the child with them), but since a birth certificate is not proof of identification we tell them that they need another form of documentation, such as school records, immunization records, etc. Most of the time they do not have this other ID, and become exasperated and upset when we tell them to go get it and come back.

 

This policy seems completely unnecessary. If we can verify the identity of the parent and see in our system that they are indeed the parent of the child for whom they are requesting a Social Security card, why do we require an additional form of identification? I don't see a valid reason. Yes, there might be some small risk associated with changing the policy, but I imagine we could easily manage it through effective controls surrounding the verification process.

 

I see this as a commonsense reform that would cut down on field office traffic (from preventing visitors from having to return) and the associated costs while also providing better customer service (i.e. not making people go to the trouble of obtaining a document that they really shouldn't need to provide). This would be similar to how SSA stopped requiring retirement benefit applicants to provide their birth certificate, since their DOB had previously been established and could be verified through the system.

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Idea No. 11012