11 January 2007

Proof of Existence

Mason, 18 1/2 months
Bath time!

Mason is 2o+ months old and barely exists.

Due to some bureaucratic brilliance, his birth certificate was not filed until Dec 14th, 2006. This is a slight problem since he was born April 25th, 2005. It has been a long, frustrating road to make my son's existence a legal fact. We were unable to claim him on our taxes last year because he didn't have a social security number or SSN. This cost our family approximately $700 in lost refund plus pain and suffering for the tax preparer (me).

He still doesn't have a SSN which brings me to this blog post. Wednesday, with his long awaited birth certificate in my hands, I drove to the local Social Security Administration office determined to wait as long as it took to get that blasted number. An hour and forty-five minutes later, my number was called and I made my way to booth 6. The application was in order but you must prove age, citizenship and current identity with at least 2 documents. Birth certificates prove age and citizenship but are not considered ID.

Current ID for a 20 month old? He doesn't have a driver's license or a passport. Our family doesn't have health insurance, which means that we don't have a health insurance card. He is too young to have a student ID and we homeschool, so that is meaningless in any case. At this point I began crying. It was beginning to look as if my son would never have a SSN when the kind lady helping me said that they can accept health records or a statement from our family physician.

"When was he last seen by the doctor," she asked.

We don't usually take the kids in for well child visits since we don't vaccinate and I am generally able to tell if a kid is thriving or not. I sat there searching my memory and realized that Mason hasn't been to the doctor for anything since he was a brand new baby.

"Not since he was a newborn," I answered.

"That won't do. It needs to be recent."

So, I left the office without a SSN for Mason and drove straight to the doctor's office to tell my favorite receptionist the whole, sad story. She scheduled him to see the doctor this Friday afternoon for a "proof of existence" appointment. That has got to be a new one for the back office. Thankfully even with healthy kids, we are still in the office often enough to have relationship with the staff. After all, there are six of them and we get our share of broken bones and strep throat.

I just want to add that while my other children all have birth certificates and SSNs, they don't have current proof of identity either. We are considering getting state nondriver IDs for them, since they don't have any other acceptable proof of identity. I want to avoid this kind of headache in the future. Consider this a "heads up."

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