No Birth Certificate for the SSA? Not Necessarily a Problem

Is it possible to qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), without a birth certificate? In a word, yes.

The SSA has two types of evidence that it will accept to establish birth: "preferred" evidence and "other" evidence. 20 CFR 404.716 is the federal regulation that pertains to these types of evidence. Included under the title of "preferred" evidence is a birth certificate or a hospital birth record that has been recorded before the individual has reached age 5. "Other" evidence includes: "an original family bible or family record; school records; census records; a statement signed by the physician or midwife who was present at your birth; insurance policies; a marriage record; a passport; an employment record; a delayed birth certificate, your child's birth certificate; or an immigration or naturalization record."

Another source for assistance in proving age without having a birth certificate is the SSA's POMS (Program Operation Manual). Section GN 00302 provides a comprehensive list of "how-to" instructions.

If the SSA still denies benefits, it's possible to file a "Request for Reconsideration" and ask for a "formal conference." If benefits are denied even after the formal conference, you can file a "Request for Hearing" and present your case to an Administrative Law Judge. It is advisable to have attorney representation at both the formal conference and the hearing. Article Last Modified: 05/29/2011