Anyone who’s ever applied for a new driver’s license, a passport, birth certificate or other government-issued document knows that bureaucratic processes can be painfully slow, there are sometimes mistakes, and the application process itself can seem unnecessarily confusing. When you add a surrogacy-born baby into the equation, there are even more opportunities for snags.
Fortunately, things usually go pretty smoothly for new parents via surrogacy, but it always helps to be prepared.
Here’s what you need to know about getting your baby’s Social Security card as an intended parent:
Gather What You’ll Need
You’ll need a series of documents to verify your identity as well as the details of your baby’s birth. Sometimes, if you run into an issue for whatever reason, someone at the Social Security Administration may want additional documentation from you. Typically, you’ll at least need these:
- Your driver’s license, passport, or another accepted form of identification
- Your baby’s birth certificate or hospital record
- Any pre-birth orders or post-birth orders, just in case
According to the Social Security Administration, all documents “must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency.” They can’t accept “photocopies or notarized copies of documents.”
Fill Out the Standard Social Security Card Application
Next, print and fill out the application for your baby’s Social Security card. This is the same process for any parent, but if you have questions about the form, don’t hesitate to call your surrogacy professional.
The Social Security Administration has a guide for parents who are applying for their child’s Social Security number, which you’ll probably find helpful. You’ll likely find some answers to your questions there, so be sure to read through that before you begin.
Mail or Hand-Deliver the Application
In surrogacy situations, it’s sometimes just best to go into the office yourself if there’s a location nearby. If not, mailing your application is fine.
The benefit of hand-delivering the application is being able to show an employee the required documents and have them (hopefully) be able to tell you whether or not there’s anything else you might need as a parent of a child born via surrogacy. Mailing the application will take a little longer, of course, but again, this option works just fine.
After You Receive Your Child’s Social Security Card
Once you get it, it’s possible to get a replacement, but it’s a pain. Store your important documents like Social Security cards, birth certificates and more in a locked, waterproof, fireproof home document safe or a security deposit box at your bank.
Remember to leave the card unsigned. Your child will sign it when they get their first job or when they turn 18, whichever happens first. Pretty exciting, right?
FAQs about Obtaining a Social Security Card for Surro-Babies
The Social Security Administration website has answers to most general questions, but here are a few of those that are most commonly asked by intended parents:
“The hospital offered us the ability to sign up for Newborn Automatic Number Assignment (NANA). Should we do that?”
No. This almost always automatically links your child’s newly issued Social Security number to your surrogate, and this is extremely difficult to reverse. Just apply for your child’s SS number/card after he or she is born rather than opting for the hospital’s automated route.
“When can I apply for my baby’s SSN?”
That depends — usually, once you receive his or her birth certificate. Depending on what state you live in, getting the birth certificate can take a few weeks. You’ll need either that or your baby’s hospital record to apply for his or her SSN.
Because some surrogacy situations will involve an amended birth certificate, it’s best to wait for the amended version of the birth certificate (if applicable in your case) before you apply for your baby’s SSN. Again, how long it’ll take for you to receive that amended birth certificate will largely depend on the state you live in. Your surrogacy attorney can give you advice based on your state laws and individual circumstances, so contact them if you have questions.
“Is there a fee?”
No. There’s never a fee for a SSN/card.
“My friends had a baby through surrogacy and they didn’t need a certain document, but someone at the Social Security office said I did — what’s the difference?”
None, really. Unfortunately, there’s not a truly standardized process for birth certificates and SSNs, mostly because of variance in state laws. Additionally, your local Social Security office may do things a little differently. Someone different might be working that day. The hospital where your baby was born may have sent them the wrong information.
There are a lot of variables involved. It can be frustrating, but stay in touch with the Social Security office, stay flexible and try to stay patient.
“How and when will I receive the card?”
You will receive your child’s number and card by mail or by pick-up at your local Social Security office. This can take several weeks depending on where you live. If you haven’t received anything in a month, go to the nearest Social Security office in person, or give them a call to see if there were complications with your processing.
You can always reach out to your American Surrogacy specialist if you have any questions about how to get a Social Security card for your baby born via surrogacy by calling us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).