The father of a child can request a copy of his child’s Social Security number during the birth registration process. If the father wasn’t present at the registration or isn’t indicated as the father on the child’s birth certificate or has lost custody of the child, he must follow a legal process.
There are many legal intricacies involved with Social Security numbers. Due to fraud being rampant (like some parents even using the Social Security numbers of their children to try and get loans when they themselves don’t qualify), it isn’t always easy (or even possible) to get someone else’s Social Security number. But surely a father should be able to get his own child’s Social Security number?
There are various reasons why a father may need the Social Security numbers of his children, and most often, these reasons are perfectly legal, though maybe not as necessary as he may think. Let’s look at the legal grounds and methods for a father to get his child’s social security number.
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Why a Father May Need His Child’s Social Security Number
A father may occasionally need to get his child’s Social Security number. Although it is hardly ever truly necessary, it can make life easier, and there are some cases where a father can quickly get his child’s Social Security number.
Some states allow parents to claim back some taxes if they have children. This is a tremendous benefit if the father is indeed involved in his child’s life. Tax credits of up to $3,600 per child, and $2,000 for a newborn baby, are not to be frowned at. This is entirely legal, and a parent must provide the child’s birth certificate and Social Security number to qualify for it.
Sometimes a father may want their child’s Social Security number so they can add the child as a beneficiary for something like life insurance. Though the Social Security number is technically not required, most insurance providers ask for the information so that they can confirm that they are making payment to the correct beneficiary.
If a father wants to add his child to his health insurance, he must give the child’s Social Security number. This is so that medical institutions and insurers can confirm that a claim is made by the right person and not by someone else. The Social Security number is asked to prevent fraud, so it is important but not required by law.
How Can a Father Get His Child’s Social Security Number?
There are a few ways for a father to get his child’s Social Security number. Many of these ways are easy and straightforward to do, but it depends on the status of the relationship between the child and both parents.
During Birth Registration
When a child is born, the parents will get a form to complete to register their birth. This is done in order to get the child’s birth certificate. However, when registering the child’s birth, there is an optional field to request the child’s Social Security number.
This request is entirely optional, and you don’t have to request it if you don’t want it. But this is the easiest way (under normal circumstances) for a father to get his child’s Social Security number if the father is involved in the birth and registration process.
From the Social Security Office
Suppose that the father’s full names and Social Security number are included on the child’s birth certificate and the father still has legal custody over the child (even shared custody). In that case, the father can simply go to his local Social Security office with a completed SS-5 form.
In addition to the SS-5 form, the father will only need two other things to get their child’s Social Security number:
- Two sets of documents to prove the identity, age, and US citizenship of the child. These include a birth certificate, passport, a US Consular Report of Birth, or a Certificate of Citizenship.
- Proof of the father’s identity, including a passport, driver’s license, or ID card.
The department will then check to confirm that the father has custody over the child and thus has the right to get the child’s Social Security number, after which the number will be given to the father.
The only exception, where the father may not simply get the child’s Social Security number, is if the child is over twelve; in this case, the child will have to personally go into the office for an interview to confirm that this is exchange is being done with their knowledge and approval.
Non-Custodial Fathers and Children’s Social Security Numbers
So far, all the points we’ve mentioned apply to parents who are still actively involved in their children’s lives and have some form of custody. But what about non-custodial fathers? Things could be slightly different, but not necessarily.
Why Would He Need the Social Security Number?
First, we must ask why the father needs the child’s Social Security number. This could be complicated, and there’s a good chance that his reasons will be legal and ethical. Even if a father doesn’t have custody over his children, he may still have a desire to leave them something or extend some caring towards them.
With that in mind, a non-custodial father may want to open bank accounts for his children where he can deposit money for them to use at a later stage. Or perhaps for the same insurance reasons mentioned before.
However, the question of whether a non-custodial father should be allowed to claim tax or put his children on health insurance is debatable and should be determined by legal professionals. If the mother has any reasonable doubt about a non-custodial father’s motives, he should be denied access to the children’s Social Security numbers.
Can a Non-Custodial Father Get His Child’s Social Security Number?
A non-custodial father can apply for his child’s Social Security number in much the same way; however, if he requests it from the Social Security office, he will have to prove his paternity even if his Social Security number is indicated on the child’s birth certificate. The Social Security office will also investigate the father’s current custody status before giving the number to him.
However, often the easiest way for a non-custodial father to get his child’s Social Security number is simply to ask the child’s mother. If the father doesn’t have custody, but the mother does, merely asking the mother for it could clear up any misunderstandings about motives and doubts about sincerity.
What About Social Security Numbers for Adopted Children?
Once they give their child up for adoption, the biological parents also give up any right to any of the child’s information and details in the future. The father of a child who has been given up for adoption will have no legal right to access the child’s Social Security number.
On the other hand, adoptive parents get every legal right that biological parents would typically have. This means that the adoptive father can request the child’s Social Security number while the adoption process is being finalized or afterward, using the same procedure as for a biological child. The only difference is that the father must prove that he is the child’s adoptive parent.
Again, if the adopted child is under twelve years of age, the father can get the child’s Social Security number; otherwise, the office will want to interview the child. The process is nearly identical in every way to that of biological parents.
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A father can get his child’s Social Security number under most normal circumstances, as long as he can prove that he is the child’s biological or legal father. There are cases where this should not be possible or advisable, for example, if the father is denied custody by the court. In any situation, it’s always best to consult a lawyer to confirm the details in your specific case.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.