Once your family has finalized the adoption process, consider applying for a social security number for your newly adopted child. This will make activities that require your child to have an SSN much easier to deal with. Note that you can obtain an SSN for the child even before completing the adoption process as well.
Obtaining an SSN for your adopted child is simple if you understand what the Social Security Administration expects. Let’s explore the process.
Why You Need an SSN for Your Adopted Child
When your child has a social security number, you’ll be able to do the following:
- Claim your child as dependent on your tax return
- Obtain medical coverage for your child
- Open a bank account for your child
- Start an educational savings fund for your child
- Apply for government benefits for your child
What if Your Child Already Has an SSN?
In the past, if a child understood that he/she was being adopted, he/she was not eligible for a new SSN if they had one already. This situation would sometimes result in miscommunications or an unhealthy exchange of information between the biological parents and the adoptive parents because of the fact that states at times identified parents using their SSN.
Today, however, the SSA allows you to obtain a new social security number for your adopted child. This is important to uphold confidentiality and to avert potential fraud or misuse. With a new SSN, you won’t worry about the unnecessary exchange of information with the child’s birth parents either.
If you are present at the time of the child’s birth, see if you can dissuade his/her birth mother from applying for the SSN when she’s completing the birth certificate application. Applying for the child’s first SSN is much easier and more convenient than changing it later.
Applying for Your Child’s SSN
You can’t apply for your adopted child’s SSN online. You have to visit your local Social Security office. Your child doesn’t have to accompany you though.
To save time, consider downloading Form SS-5 and completing it at home before visiting the SSA office. You can also find the form at the US Filing Services LLC social security application website. You’ll need to provide at least two documents to prove your child’s identity, age, and citizenship status.
You can provide the child’s birth certificate issued after finalizing the adoption, the child’s hospital birth record, or any other medical record that can prove his/her identity. You’ll also need to prove your own identity. You can provide your passport or driver’s license for that.
Be sure every document is an original or a certified copy. Photocopies will be rejected.
Submitting Your Application
Once you’ve filled out the application form as required and appended the required documentation, you should hand over the application at your local social security office. You should expect to receive your child’s social security card in 6 to 12 weeks.
It’s worth noting that you may have to wait a little longer if your child is at least one year old. The SSA has to ascertain the authenticity of your child’s birth certificate from your state’s Department of Vital Statistics.