How To Receive A New Social Security Number And Card For An Adopted Child

If you have recently adopted a child or plan to do so in the future, then one of the next immediate steps is to apply for a Social Security number and card. The child will likely already have an existing number that they received following their birth. Though, this may not be the case if you are adopting a child immediately after birth.

Do not make the mistake of thinking the child should keep the same Social Security number they received with their birth parents. It is in the best interest of privacy and security that they receive a new number and card following the adoption. Luckily, applying for a new card is not an incredibly difficult or time-consuming task, though it does take more time than applying for their first SS card.

If you happen to be at the hospital at the time of the child's birth, then you may be able to speak with the birth parents so that they do not apply for a Social Security number for the child. Applying for the first number and card is faster and easier than changing it at a later date so that's always the ideal course of action. But if you are unable to apply for the baby's first number after birth, then you will need to apply for a new number later following the steps below.

1. Secure The Appropriate Documents

A minimum of two documents proving the age, citizenship, and identity of the child are required. One of those documents should be the child's birth certificate. This is the document that was issued following the finalization of the adoption. It will list the child's new name (if there is one) and will list you as the parents. This is known as an amended birth certificate and is important for providing proof of the new parent-child relationship.

There are some states that take up to 12 months before sending an amended birth certificate to the adoptive parents. In those states, there are often alternative documents that you can use for this purpose. For example, in California, you can use the final order of adoption or the adoption decree to prove the parent-child relationship. They may also require a signed Adoption Agreement.

The second document can be any medical record or the original hospital birth record of the child. This document is used to prove the U.S. Citizenship of the child. All of these documents must either be the originals or a certified copy. You will not be allowed to use a photocopy of the document.

A third document is required for proof of your own identity. You can choose to use a passport, a state-issued ID, or a driver's license. Whichever you use, it's important that the document has not expired.

2. Complete Form SS-5

The SS-5 form is the official application for a social security number. If you show up at a local Social Security Administration office with the above documents they will give you an SS-5 form to fill out on the spot. Filling out paperwork in public is never fun. It's highly recommended that you visit the official Social Security government website and print the form at home. You can then fill out the form before visiting the office and streamline the entire process.

The SS-5 form contains 18 sections where you will need to supply information about yourself or the child. They will want to know the child's full name, their place of birth, their parent's information (including their social security numbers), and their mailing address.

One of the questions on the form will ask whether the child has received a prior Social Security number in the past. If you did not know the birth parents, then it is safe to answer “no” to this question. The child is technically applying for a Social Security card and number with an entirely new identity and new family. It is not the same as the previous number they may have acquired at birth. However, if you knew the birth parents and they used your name on the original birth certificate, then you must answer “yes”.

3. Deliver The Paperwork And Wait

The next step is to deliver the completed SS-5 form and the appropriate documents to your local Social Security Administration office. You can use the online tool on their website to locate the closest office to your home. Some people choose to mail their documents, but you are advised to deliver them in person because of the sensitive nature of the forms.

Once the documents have been delivered you must wait for six to twelve weeks. It may take longer if the child is older than one year of age. This is because the SSA will need to contact the state departments to confirm the information and to validate the birth certificate. If there are any errors with the form or documents, then you should receive a written notice from the SSA.

Should You Work With An Attorney?

If you are having trouble securing a new Social Security card for your adopted or foster child, then you may need to work with a professional attorney to expedite the process. These laws can be very confusing and in some cases, even the workers at the Social Security office do not fully understand them. They may try to tell you at the local office that you cannot receive a new number or they may try to send you a new card with their previous number.

In any case, your new adopted child has a new identity and a new family. They are certainly entitled to a new Social Security card with a new number. This will help protect them from their past lives and possibly even their birth parents who likely have their original numbers. An attorney will fight for you to ensure that the SSA issues a new card with entirely new information. It can be a lengthy process if the SSA office believed they should not issue a new number, but you must remain diligent.

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