My Friend...[question about citizenship if birth certificate is lacking]

So my friend has an unusual circumstance regarding her citizenship. She doesn’t exist. Her mother gave birth to her at home with no midwives, no doctor, no one to help. As a result she has no birth certificate or social security number, no documents to prove she even exists. My questions are (and she’s 20) how did her mother enroll her into middle school and highschool? Are there any websites out there stating that it isn’t illegal to not have a birth certificate and SSN? For more information, her mother is a legal citizen in the U.S, born and raised my friend just doesn’t exist because of a poor choice made by her mother. Thanks for the help guys (:

Edited title to indicate subject.

General Questions Moderator

The first thing to do is get her a delayed birth certificate. It will be quite difficult and the actual process will depend on which state she was born in. Once she has a birth certificate she should be able to get an SSN. If she can obtain her school records, if they contain a birthdate for her, that can be used as evidence that she was born where she was, when she says she was.

Do you actually have to produce a birth certificate to enroll in grade school? there must be thousands of people who do not have the necessary documentation, even if it is available should they need to find it. I imagine low income transient families don’t have all their documents in order. They get through life just fine.

Be that as it may, I remember when I enrolled into highschool, when I went with my parents they had to put down at least my SSN. I didn’t know if it was a requirement or if the school just wanted it as a proof of residency.

Didn’t the friend’s parents declare her as a dependent when they filed an income tax return? I thought that you were required to provide the SSN of all dependents when doing so. It’s possible that they just didn’t bother declaring her as a dependent, or didn’t file income tax returns, but that’s fairly unusual. (Of course being born at home without a doctor or midwife present is unusual as well.)

Good point, that was required starting in 1987.

Does your friend just not know if she has these things (due to not asking her mother directly/her mother being uncooperative) or has it been actually confirmed that she is not anywhere in the system?

Yes, she has asked her mother and has applied for a delayed birth certificate. If her mother had been hiding that fact from her, by this time she would know because they sift through all birth certificates to make sure her claim is valid and she isn’t trying to pull a scam. They haven’t found anything and are now trying to get her birth certificates and get her her own SSN. Idk if her mother was claiming her as a dependent, I would assume not since her daughter technically doesn’t exist. But this is a fact, her mother told her the whole story when she was 16, it wasn’t as big of a problem at the time but now that she is older she is unable to attend college or get a job.

Why would it be illegal? There’s no law that requires you to have a Social Security number. There are several that require you to have one (or a federal tax ID number, at any rate) in order to interact with federal or state agencies (the IRS and Social Security Administration, unsurprisingly, as well as the revenue and driver’s licensing agencies of several states), but none that require you to have one just for existing.

In this small central-Okie town, you absolutely must provide an ‘official’ birth certificate to enroll into pre-K/Kindergarten, at least. My wife is kind of a ‘nanny’ for four boys living across street from us, and the youngest was supposed to start pre-K recently. Mom had no idea of b/cert location (and is supremely irresponsible in most things regarding these fine young men) and one had to be ordered by my wife prior to doing anything at school’s office. Done online and easy overall. Yeah, been there and done that myself just this week, fwiw :slight_smile:

Of course, there may be exceptions and loopholes but I bet they are few if any.

There was an article in the Houston Chronicle a long time ago about a whole group of siblings who were going through this same issue, their mother who had them at home and had never filed for a BC or SS# and had never claimed them on census forms or as dependents for taxes. One son was trying without success to enroll in the military, unsure how their situation was resolved.

The article claimed their mother did this out of an extreme christian belief, possibly with the mark of the beast issue. Is there any variety of christianity that advocates being off the grid?

Certainly when I started school (that would have been in 1942) no birth certificate was asked for. My name on the birth certificate is not the same as I went to school under. Nor was any asked for when I got an SSN (probably around 1952). In fact, I have been asked for a BC only twice in my life: when I got my first passport (and then I needed an affadavit for the name change) and when I retired.

Things were simpler in those days.