A social security number is an identification number used for all United States citizens. It is not tied to where or when you were born. Therefore, babies who are born at home are still eligible for social security numbers. The difference is, you will most likely have to apply for the number on your own, whereas, many hospitals will automatically submit the application for your baby when filing your birth certificate.
Applying for the Social Security Number for Your Baby
When you go to apply for your birth certificate or when your midwife or doctor applies for the birth certificate, you will be asked if you would like to also apply for a social security number (SSN) at the same time in most states. You can choose to take this route, which is usually easier and requires less paperwork, simply the social security numbers of the parents and other information that is generally required for the birth certificate. This is a streamlined approach and is usually the fastest way to do it.
"It didn't even occur to me that I would have to get a social security number," said Juliet, mother of one home birthed baby. "I knew I had to get a birth certificate, I just assumed that the social security card went along with that document. It wasn't a big deal. The clerk at the county vital records simply told me to check one extra box.
It took about three months and then her card just showed up in our mail one day."
If you choose to wait and apply for yourself, you will need proof of the baby's age and birth, citizenship and your identity. You will also have to apply in person at the social security office. While your baby does not need a social security number immediately, your baby will not be able to have a bank account, attend some schools, and may have other inconveniences without the benefit of a number.
You will also need the social security number to be able to claim your baby on your income taxes after one year of age. This is to prevent fraud.
"I wasn't aware of it if I could have opted to have one done, but I realized shortly before tax season that I didn't have a number for the baby," explains Kevin, home birth dad. "My wife and I got the birth certificate and the baby's pediatric medical record and mailed it in. There were no questions asked. I guess it was an extra step but it wasn't a big deal and no one seemed to care that we had a home birth."
Social Security Numbers for Children. Social Security Administration (SSA). May 2009