TN 47 (12-23)

RM 10210.410 How Do you Examine, Evaluate, and Assess Documents Submitted as Evidence of Identity

When a document other than a primary document is submitted to establish an individual’s identity you must determine if the document

  • is authentic and meets the requirements in RM 10210.420 or

  • can be used under one of the exceptions in RM 10210.430.

A. What considerations should be used when examining, evaluating and assessing documents?

When examining a document submitted as evidence of identity, follow RM 10210.200. To evaluate and assess specific types of identity documents see RM 10210.410 Indications that an applicant may not be who they claim to be are:

  • The individual appears much older or younger than the date of birth or age on the identity document.

  • The documents submitted appear altered and cannot be verified by the issuing source.

  • There is a record for the applicant on the Disallowed Application File.

B. What Information is required on an identity document (ID) document?

An applicant must submit one or more documents that show the person’s name AND provide:

  • Biographical information in addition to the person’s name that the reviewer can compare with the data on the SSN application (i.e., date of birth, age, or parents' names) and/or

  • Physical information that the reviewer can compare with the applicant (e.g., physical description (i.e. height, weight, age, etc.) or photograph). If the identity document contains just a photograph and no physical description or biographical data, the applicant must be present during the interview so that a comparison to the photograph can be made. An additional identity document containing biographical and/or physical information may be required from the list in RM 10210.420, depending on the probative value of the submitted picture identity document.

NOTE: If a picture identity document is presented, it must have the person's name as well as information that can be compared to the Numident, the applicant, or other documents submitted (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names).

C. How do you compare information on the SSN application with an identity documents?

For an original SSN card, compare the name on the submitted evidence with the name given in the Enumeration System (name to be shown on card).

For a replacement SSN card, compare the information on the document(s) with the information on the Numident record to make sure the applicant is the NH. If the applicant submitted a picture identity document, compare the photo to the applicant and the DOB data on the Numident (e.g., does the photo appear to be of a person born the year shown as the DOB on the Numident?).

If the information on the identity document differs from the data given in the Enumeration System on the SSN application or the data on the most recent Numident record, the applicant’s true identity or the validity of the document submitted to establish identity is questionable. In this situation, request additional evidence or verify the identity document with the issuing source even when the applicant submits a document considered acceptable evidence. For information on evidence of name change, see RM 10212.010. For information on changing other identifying data, see RM 10212.200.

D. How do you visually inspect an evidence of identity document for authenticity?

The visual inspection generally involves two processes that help determine a document’s authenticity. The processes are the examination of the document, and the comparison of the document to a visual standard. To find out more about these processes:

  1. 1. 

    Refer to the guideline in

    • RM 10210.200 General Information on Reviewing and Verifying Evidence for a SSN Card, and

    • RM 10210.410 How Do You Examine, Evaluate, and Assess Documents Submitted as Evidence of Identity.

  2. 2. 

    Compare the document submitted to a visual standard, if available, on the Docutector Site or in the Administrative Confidential Memorandum found in the Document Verification Website (DVW).

E. How do you evaluate a document as evidence of identity


  • the purpose for which a document was issued and

  • the basis for the issuance.

A document based solely on an allegation has little or no probative value as an identity document (e.g., a vaccination record completed and maintained by a parent for a child).

Some foreign governments issue identification documents to their citizens, even when the citizens are living outside their home countries. If an SSN applicant (or a proper applicant) submits an identification document issued by a foreign governmental entity, consider the purpose for which the document was issued and the basis for its issuance. If the person is applying for an SSN card at an SSA office in the U.S. and living in the U.S., he/she should have a U.S. lawful alien document. The person may also have a U.S. government identity card or a State-issued driver’s license or identity card.

When an applicant applies for an SSN card showing a new name because of a non-U.S. marriage see RM 10212.050.

F. What If the identity document presented does not appear to be authentic?

If the document presented does not appear to be authentic based on the visual inspection and the instructions in RM 10210.200, follow the instructions in step 8 of RM 10210.210. When appropriate, develop for possible fraud follow GN 04110.010.

If it appears that the applicant used another name, add it to the SSN application as “other name(s) used” on the Number Holder Additional Information Screen.

The SR or higher graded interviewing employee will

  1. 1. 

    enter the application into Enumeration System per RM 10205.310

  2. 2. 

    upon identifying the application as suspect, request verification of the document from the issuing source

  3. 3. 

    photocopy both sides of the document.

If any information is not legible, write the information on the photocopy.

Return the original document to the applicant.

Send the photocopy of the document to the issuing source when requesting verification and follow the instructions on how to establish a holding file for an SSN application in RM 10215.015.

NOTE: If a questionable document is presented during the VSD enumeration process, follow Step 4 of RM 10225.170. Pay close attention to laminated documents, especially documents that have been laminated by an applicant. See RM 10210.085C for more information on laminated documents.

G. What happens when development is complete and the document does not establish identity?

If, after all development, it appears that an applicant is not who they purport to be and cannot satisfactorily explain the discrepancy or the document submitted cannot be verified by the issuing agency, the SR or higher graded interviewing employee must take these actions:

  • Develop all available information about the person’s identity and the document submitted, per GN 04110.010.

  • Enter the application in the Enumeration System and code the document as fraudulent on the Proof of Identity Screen per RM 10205.305D. Be sure to obtain a secondary approval from your supervisor or equivalent;

  • Submit the information to the Allegation Referral Intake System (ARIS). Follow the Enumeration System instructions in RM 10205.310, step 8 for using an Enumeration System printout for processing an SSN application submitted with suspect documents.

  • Tell the applicant that if they later provides sufficient documentation to establish their true identity, he or she must complete a new SSN application.

For instruction on what to do when the document does not establish the applicant’s identity, please refer to the following sections.

  • RM 10205.300 Suspect Documents with SSN Application

  • RM 10205.305 Fraudulent Documents with SSN Application

  • RM 10205.310 Processing an SSN Application Submitted with Suspect Documents

  • RM 10205.315 Processing an SSN Application when Verifying Agency Responds the Document is Acceptable

  • RM 10205.320 Processing an SSN Application when Verifying Agency Responds the Document is Fraudulent

  • RM 10205.325 Processing an SSN Application when Documents are Immediately Determined to be Fraudulent

  • RM 10225.170 Field Office (FO) Instructions for Video Service Delivery (VSD) for Certain SSN Replacement Cards

NOTE: The system generates a denial notice, which is mailed from Central Office.

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RM 10210.410 - How Do you Examine, Evaluate, and Assess Documents Submitted as Evidence of Identity - 12/28/2023
Batch run: 01/30/2024