Birth Registration and Social Security Numbers
May 4, 1990
TO:STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT, STATE VITAL STATISTICS AGENCIES AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS
SUBJECT:Birth Registration and Social Security Numbers (SSNs); Child Support Enforcement Program
BACKGROUND:Section 125 of P.L. 100-485 (the Family Support Act of 1988) amended section 205(c)(2)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act, effective November 1, 1990, to require that, in the administration of any law involving the official birth registration process, each State obtain from each parent their Social Security Number(s) unless the State finds good cause for not requiring such number(s) (in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary). Under the revised law, the State shall make such number(s) available to the agency administering the State's plan under title IV-D of the Act in accordance with Federal or State law and regulation. The number(s) shall not be recorded on the birth certificate. The State shall not use any SSN(s) obtained during issuance of a birth certificate for any purpose other than the enforcement of child support orders in effect in the State, except that, where a State is currently permitted under the Privacy Act to obtain and use an SSN for purposes other than the IV-D program because they did so prior to 1975, the State would be permitted to continue to do so. Any provision of Federal law which is inconsistent with the requirements set forth in the revised law is of no effect on and after the date of enactment of such revisions.
CONTENT:This Action Transmittal sets forth instructions for obtaining SSN(s) during the birth registration process for the purpose of locating absent parents, establishing paternity, and establishing and enforcing child support orders. The following actions are necessary to comply with Section 125 of P.L. 100-485, effective November 1, 1990:
(a) General. In the administration of any law involving the official birth registration process,each State vital statistics office, or other agency having administrative responsibility for the law involved, must require each parent to furnish to such office or agency, the SSN (or numbers, if the parent has more than one such number) issued to the parent, unless a determination of good cause for not providing such number(s) is made. A parent need not be required to disclose his or her SSN(s) if the parent has good cause, as defined by the State, for not providing such number(s) based on evidence provided by the parent. We are not issuing regulations at this time because we believe the States are in the best position to determine good cause circumstances. However, States may wish to limit good cause circumstances to those under which:
(1) The child was conceived as a result of incest or forcible rape; or
(2) Legal proceedings for the adoption of the child are pending before a court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) Maintenance of Social Security Numbers. The State vital statistics office or other appropriate agency may not display SSN(s) on the portion of the birth certificate issued upon request. The SSN must be printed on the portion of the birth certificate which remains in the official birth records and is not released. The State vital statistics office or other appropriate agency may establish a system for maintaining SSN(s) collected in accordance with paragraph (a). The State vital statistics office or other appropriate agency is not required to keep a separate system of records--it can be added to the existing vital statistics system.
(c) Availability of Social Security Numbers. The State vital statistics office or other appropriate agency must make SSN(s) available to the agency administering the State's plan for child support enforcement under title IV-D of the Social Security Act in accordance with Federal or State law and regulation. Federal funding is available at the applicable matching rate for the establishment of, and costs associated with, all necessary agreements between State vital statistics offices and IV-D agencies to request and transfer SSNs.
(d) Use of Social Security Numbers. A State may not use any SSN, obtained by the State vital statistics office or other appropriate agency during the birth registration process, for any purpose other than locating absent parents, establishing paternity, and establishing and enforcing support orders, unless section 7(a) of the Privacy Act of 1974 authorizes the State to disclose such numbers because the State adopted, before January 1, 1975, a statute or regulation requiring such disclosure. Although the statute only mentions enforcement of support orders, we believe that Congress intended to allow disclosure for the purposes of locating absent parents, and establishing paternity and support orders because these actions are essential to, and prerequisites of, enforcement of support obligations. We believe this is consistent with Congressional intent stated in Conference Report 100-998, on pages 107-108: "The conference agreement follows the Senate amendment modified to provide that the parents' SSN shall not appear on the birth certificate, and that the use of the SSN obtained through the birth record would be limited to Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program purposes . . ." (emphasis added).
EFFECTIVE DATE:November 1, 1990
INQUIRIES TO:OCSE Regional Representatives.
Allie Page Matthews