For the first eight weeks of his life, Hank has been pretty much off the grid. As in, he doesn't have a social security number. While John and I are kind of tempted to keep it that way, we know it'll just be more of a hassle to get him one later in life when we sign him up for things like, oh, public school. So I'm doomed to play the government's game.
Unlike the hospital, at the birth center there isn't a person who does Social Security (SS from here on out, despite the fact that those initials have been taken previously by the Third Reich... I kind of think that's fitting considering what the Social Security Administration does, which is assign you a number so others can keep tabs on you) paperwork. Therefore, you have to go to the SS office yourself and apply for a number for your newborn after you get the birth certificate.
Last week, I picked up Hank's birth certificate and called the SS office to find out what I had to do to get a SSN for Hank. The automated message thing that I called was useless. It just said to bring a form of ID to the office and apply in person. So I packed up Johnny and Hank and headed to the closest SS office. I drove up and actually found a parking space in the teeny-tiny lot and got all excited because the parking lot fits, oh, maybe seven cars. "If there are only 7 people are here, I'll be in and out in a jiffy!" I said to myself.
I should have known better. This is a government office we're talking about.
I strapped Johnny into the stroller and put Hank in the ring sling, walked into the office. . . and looked around in dismay at the number of people waiting. All of the seats were taken and a good number of people were standing. However, I wasn't about to go through the rigamarole of putting kids back in the car without a SSN for Hank. So I got my number and then waited in line to check in.
And I waited. And waited. . . with my fussy newborn and irritated toddler. Finally I got to "check in". Mind you, this wasn't to actually get the SS number, it was to make sure that I was at the office for the correct reason.
This is my conversation at the check in window:
Me (handing over my numbered ticket and Hank's birth certificate): "I'm here to get a SSN for my newborn."
SS woman: "Okay. I need two forms of ID."
Me: "I have my driver's license and passport, will that work?"
SS woman: "Oh no, not for you. For your baby."
Me: "Really? He's only seven weeks old... what other ID does he have other than a birth certificate?"
SS woman: "Well, a shot record would work."
Me (frantically searching through all of the medical paperwork given to me at the birth center): "I don't have his shot record."
SS woman: "A certificate of live birth would work too. Or any kind of document with his name and birth date on it from the birth center will work."
Me: "None of these have his full name on them. They are just records of my labor and his birth written by the midwife, but none of them has his full name."
SS woman: "Then I can't help you. You need to bring a signed testimonial of live birth from your midwife. It can't be a copy, it has to be an original where you can see the pen marks."
Me: "So these 20 or so pages of records of birth and my labor along with the birth certificate aren't going to be enough?"
SS woman: "No."
Me: "[Insert choice swear word here]."
Really?!?!? TWO forms of ID for a NEWBORN?!?!?! He's been on this earth for seven weeks and he should, what? Have a driver's license? MAYBE you should put that in your automated phone service; you know, the one I called to make sure I had everything I needed? So irritating. Especially when SS is a joke anyway. Why do we need to jump through so many hoops so you can assign a number to my child to make sure that he'll be paying taxes? It seems that YOU should be jumping through the hoops for ME to make sure he gets a number. And don't you EVEN give me any crap about how it will pay off when he's 65 and gets his SS benefits because we all know that's a load of toddler poo. (Why toddler poo? Because I imagine that it stinks way more than bull poo.)
Summary: Social Security Administration? It blows.