TN 31 (08-05)

GN 00307.421 Verifying the Identity of Chinese Claimants

A. Introduction

1. General

Since most evidence is secondary evidence of recent origin, experience has shown that it is relatively easy to assume another person's identity. In addition, “coaching schools” in Hong Kong teach individuals all the details of a family history in order to present themselves as persons entitled to benefits.

2. Chinese Names

Variations in Chinese names can make it difficult to establish the identity of a claimant — especially one for survivor or auxiliary benefits.

Traditional Chinese names are made up of three characters —first the family surname, second and third the given names of the individual. The surname remains constant but a person can have as many given names as he wishes. Two at birth, one at marriage and other “milk” names (i.e., nicknames, business names). Some individuals use their third names as surnames in the U.S. and some reverse the order of their names. Differences in customs and dialects also cause confusion in names.


Chinese name in Mandarin dialect — Wo

Cantonese dialect — Ng

Toishan dialect — Eng

Married women may use their maiden names and add “Shee” (the equivalent of “Mrs.”).

B. Process

When an application is filed in an FSP, it includes a report with the claim showing:

  • Whether it believes the claimant's identity has been established; and

  • What evidence has been examined/obtained.

C. Procedure

Develop for all possible evidence of identity and evaluate it carefully to establish identity. Evaluate the report from the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or the report from the Foreign Service Post the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) requested, and considering the other evidence in file.

Develop for other evidence (including that from U.S. sources) or ask the RFBO to undertake additional development to resolve any discrepancies.

In requesting additional development, give a detailed explanation of the problem and the development needed.

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GN 00307.421 - Verifying the Identity of Chinese Claimants - 04/16/2018
Batch run: 08/20/2018