BASIC (09-87)

GN 00302.540 Delayed Birth Certificates

A. General

A DBC (i.e., a BC established at age 5 or later) is usually considered to be one piece of evidence. Even if the documents on which the DBC was based are described in great detail, the DBC can not normally be “dismantled” and used as more than one document, except as explained in subsection E. below. However, if the supporting documents shown on the DBC are actually presented (in addition to the DBC), consider them as separate pieces of evidence.

B. Example

The claimant presents a marriage record and a DBC which was based on a school record, the marriage record, and a driver's license. The school record and driver's license are not submitted. In this case, the DBC and the marriage record are considered separate pieces of evidence. The school record and driver's license are not used as evidence, though they may have some bearing on the probative value of the DBC in discrepancy cases.

C. Court orders as DBC's

In certain States (e.g., Indiana and Michigan), State or county courts have sometimes issued DBC's in the form of court decrees or orders. These vary greatly in format (some show supporting evidence and some do not). Treat these records as DBC's and evaluate them accordingly.

D. Discrepancy in supporting evidence

Although DBC's generally can not be dismantled, the fact that a supporting document shown on the DBC shows a different DB than was indicated on the DBC itself does prohibit the use of the DBC under the automatically convincing evidence rules (see GN 00302.115 and GN 00302.118) and necessitates material discrepancy development (see GN 00302.170ff.).

E. Exception under which dismantling is permissible

In certain limited situations, you will not have to obtain a record shown as a supporting document to use that document as a separate piece of evidence. In the two situations described in the chart below, use the supporting documents as a separate record.

NOTE:  Use the document only for the purpose of establishing the claimants' DB. It can not  be used as proof of other entitlement factors (for this claimant or other claimants) unless the document is itself presented.


A religious record of age established before age 5 is shown as a supporting document

It is described in sufficient detail to enable SSA to later verify (or obtain a copy of) the record, if necessary


  • Consider the religious record to be in file

  • Use the DB purportedly shown on the religious record (unless there is sufficient evidence to overturn the religious record - see GN 00302.440)

  • Use the DB code “B”.

The custodian of the DBC is also the issuing agency and current custodian of the supporting document.

NOTE:  Absent information to the contrary, assuming the issuing agency of the document shown is the current custodian of that document

The supporting document is described in sufficient detail to determine:

  • The type of document

  • The DB (or age) of the claimant and

  • The recordation date of the supporting document

There is no reason to doubt that the supporting document still exists

Consider the supporing record shown on the DBC to be a separate document.

EXAMPLE:  A DBC is presented that is based, in part, on a BC for the claimant's child. The child's BC was issued by the same office as the one that issued the claimant's DBC. All of the conditions shown here are met. Consider the child"s BC to be in file for purposes of establishing the claimant's DB

F. Evaluating DBC's in material discrepancy cases - general

The probative value of a DBC is based on many factors such as the

  • Date of registration (normally shown on the DBC, and

  • Purpose for which it was established, and

  • Evidence on which it was based.

A DBC would have higher probative value, for example, if it were established many years age based on documents or records which are considered to be reliable and of high probative value.

Also, the criteria for establishing DBC's vary from State to State.

Consider all of the above factors when evaluating a DBC in a material discrepancy case.

G. Role of supporting documents in evaluating DBC's

In many cases, the evidence on which the DBC was based, will be described in enough detail to permit evaluation of this evidence. If this is the case, the original document(s) normally need not be obtained to evaluate the probative value of the DBC.

Determine the probative value of a DBC is difficult when the evidence on which it was based id not described in detail. For example, if a family Bible is the basis for the DBC, and no information is shown concerning the

  • Age of the Bible, or

  • Date entries were made, or

  • Absence of erasures or corrections.

Then proper evaluation of the probative value of the DBC can not be made without examining the Bible itself.

Except in the limited situations described above, a document listed on a DBC as supporting evidence can not be used to establish the claimant's DB unless that document is in file. If sufficient evidence has been presented to make a DB determination, you do not need to obtain copies of the supporting evidence. However, if additional evidence is required or if a document listed on the DBC is believed to be best evidence, obtain the supporting document(s)

H. DBC as best evidence

A DBC can be used as best evidence even if one of the documents on which the DBC is based is the earliest available (assuming the DB on that document agrees with the DB on the DBC). However, the adjudicator must explain in the DB determination why obtaining the earliest document (as well as any earlier records) would not alter the DB determination (see GN 00302.170).

I. Example

A claimant presents a DBC recorded in 1935 that shows a DB of 1/10/21. A 1928 school record is listed and described in detail on the DBC as supporting evidence, and shows the DB as 1/10/21. The DBC can be considered best evidence and the school record need not be obtained if the adjudicator explains why obtaining the school record would have no bearing on the determination, and he/she addresses the non-availablity or irrelevance of other early records.

J. Avoid recontacting registrars

In evaluating DBC's, take care to avoid giving theimpressions that we are attempting to verify the evidence submitted to the registrar to establish the DB. Avoid having the claimant return to the registrar for verification, and do not do so yourself. Adverse impact of our procedures on State and local authorities must be avoided wherever possible.

If the evidence on which the DBC was based is not described in enough detail to permit evaluation of the evidence, ask the claimant to submit all available evidence directly to the DO.

K. DBC based on affidavits

If the affiant is the claimant's parent, assume that he/she had sufficient basis for knowing when the individual was born, unless the claims file suggests otherwise. A DBC based on a parent's affidavit and recorded several years ago carries more weight, as a rule, than registrations based on affidavits of other individuals. (Thus, a DBC recorded in the 1940's based on a parent's affidavit would have high probative value.

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GN 00302.540 - Delayed Birth Certificates - 10/06/1994
Batch run: 01/27/2009