TN 17 (02-95)

GN 00302.020 What Evidence of Age to Request

A. Introduction

As described in GN 00302.001 - GN 00302.007, proof of age must be requested in connection with most claims. The following sections discuss what type and amount of evidence is required to establish a claimant's DB.

B. Policy

Not all evidence which a claimant submits as proof of age has the same probative value. Based on years of ongoing study, SSA has developed the following order of preference for evidence of age.

Evidence CategoryTypes of
Documents
When Requested
   

Preferred

  • Public record of birth established before age 5

Prefered evidence must be requested if available and not previously requested. (See GN 00302.057.)

 
  • Religious record of age established before age 5

  • Other records described in
    GN 00302.054

 
Automatically convincingEvidence from lists in GN 00302.115 and GN 00302.118Requested if claimant is not required to submit preferred evidence, or a search of Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS) records is unsuccessful.
Combination of documentsEvidence described in GN 00302.125Requested if evidence from the automatically convincing lists is not readily available.
“Best”Evidence of highest probative value available. (See
GN 00302.165.)
Requested if any evidence in file shows a materially different DB from that alleged by the claimant and that discrepancy cannot be ignored. (See
GN 00302.180.)

C. Procedure

Request evidence of age from claimants who have not previously established their age for SSA purposes unless a tolerance applies. For instructions about proof of age tolerances, see “Evidence of Age - Tolerances” in GN 00302.030.

Accept any and all evidence of age which the applicant submits regardless of when the evidence was recorded or established. Do not give the claimant the impression that any evidence he/she wishes to submit will be rejected as unacceptable, even though it may be necessary to seek additional evidence of greater probative value.</