TN 32 (09-21)

GN 00302.740 SSA Payment for Census Records


The Bureau of the Census will search its records and provide age information upon receipt of an application (see GN 00302.760) and the payment of a $65 fee.

Section 404.704 of Regulation No. 4 clearly states that the burden of obtaining the proof necessary to establish entitlement to benefits rests upon the claimant. In some cases, however, SSA can pay for the census request when it is needed to assure a correct DB determination.


SSA will pay for a census search if all of the following conditions are met:

Conditions Explanation

The claimant meets the other requirements for entitlement to benefits


The evidence in file establishes a likelihood that the required age has been attained

Take all facts into consideration in determining whether it is likely that the claimant has attained the required age. Generally, there is such likelihood if:

  • There is at least one piece of evidence (other than the application but including OCRO records) which shows that the claimant has attained the required age, but

  • There is no material discrepancy in file, or

  • The weight of the evidence shows that the claimant has reached the required age.

The claimant has made a reasonable effort to obtain evidence to establish the DB

Generally, this means that the claimant has made diligent efforts to get evidence which was discussed with him/her. A mere statement that he/she has no evidence is not  enough.

A Comptroller General's ruling and Office of the General Counsel's opinion hold that SSA can not  pay based on the claimant's inability to pay the fee for the census record.

The claimant has authorized the Bureau of the Census to send a copy of the transcript to the DO

While the claimant authorizes it, the Bureau will forward a copy of the search results to the DO. This eliminates the delay between the claimant's receipt of the record and his/her submitting it to the DO.

When SSA pays for the census search, the claimant must  authorize the Bureau to send a copy of the transcript to the DO.

Call to the claimant's attention the statements on the SSA-1535-U3 (Application for Search of Census Records for Proof of Age) or the BC-600 (Application for Search of Census Records) that the age shown on the records may not  support the DB alleged.


SSA will not pay for the census search when:

  • The claimant needs such evidence to establish his/her DB; for example

    • The claimant has no evidence, or

    • There is a material discrepancy in file and the weight of the evidence indicates that he/she has not yet reached the required age.

  • The claimant could, but refused to, obtain a public or religious record of age established before age 5.


When SSA pays for the census search, the claim can not  be adjudicated until the census record or a negative response has been received.

EXCEPTION:  In those rare instances in which preferred evidence is received in the meantime, the claim may be adjudicated before receipt of a response from the Bureau of the Census.


  • See GN 00302.830 for limitations on the number of census records for which SSA will pay.

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GN 00302.740 - SSA Payment for Census Records - 09/09/2021
Batch run: 09/09/2021