Identification Number:
EM-22005
Intended Audience:All
RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/PSCs/OCO/WBDOC/SAU
Originating Office:ORDP OISP
Title:Accepting Documents with a Non-binary Sex Designation or “X” for Enumeration Requests
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:References at the end of this EM.
 
Retention Date: August 02, 2022


A. Purpose


This message is to provide instructions for accepting evidentiary documents with a non-binary or unspecified sex designation, such as an X, instead of M for male and F for female for enumeration requests.

The purpose of this message is twofold:
    · To clarify that we accept evidence documents that include non-binary or unspecified sex designations for enumeration requests if the evidence document would otherwise be considered valid.

    · To provide instructions for enumeration requests (original SSN, replacement card applications, and updates to the NUMIDENT) when evidentiary documents include non-binary sex designation, such as an X.


B. Background

Some jurisdictions issue official documents such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates with non-binary or unspecified sex designations. Similarly, the Department of State has announced that it will issue U.S. passports with non-binary sex designations and some foreign countries issue passports with non-binary sex designations. As a result, some of the documents that we use as evidence may include non-binary or unspecified sex designations (i.e., designations other than male “M” or female “F”). These documents may include a sex designation of “X” or another indicator.

We accept these evidence documents for enumeration requests (original SSN, replacement card applications, and updates to the NUMIDENT) if the documents would otherwise be accepted as valid evidence for that purpose. These documents should not be rejected solely because of a non-binary sex designation.

However, at this time, SSA’s systems do not accommodate a sex designation other than M or F. Therefore, applications for original SSNs must include a binary designation (M or F) and we are unable to update NUMIDENT records to reflect non-binary or unspecified sex designations.

This most often occurs in two contexts:


    (1) Enumeration at Birth (EAB) applications with non-binary or unspecified designations cannot be processed through the automated system. In these cases, the parent or guardian must apply for the child’s SSN in the field office and select a binary sex designation for the child’s application to be processed.

    (2) Requests to update the sex designation on the NUMIDENT record with a non-binary or unspecified designation. In these cases, we are unable to update the NUMIDENT to include a non-binary or unspecified sex designation.


In all such events described above, it is our practice to ask the applicant to designate a binary sex (either M or F) that our system recognizes.

C. General Instructions

1. Reviewing Documents with a Non-binary Sex or Unspecified Designation Code for Enumeration Requests

The sex designation on a birth certificate or identity document (e.g., passports, driver’s licenses, medical records) does not change the document’s validity and we accept these documents as evidence if the document would otherwise be considered valid. Often, the non-binary sex designation code is shown as an X, but other codes may also be present.

A birth certificate or identity document with a non-binary sex designation is considered valid if the document would be valid for the purpose it is submitted. These documents should not be rejected solely because of a non-binary or unspecified sex designation.

For more information about evidence policy, see:

GN 00302.030 Tolerances for Developing Evidence of Age

RM 10210.010 Evidence Policy for an Original or New SSN

RM 10210.420 Priority List of Acceptable Evidence of Identity Documents

GN 00307.000 Foreign Evidence

RM 10205.015 Minimum Data Required to Complete an Application for a Social Security Card

2. Original SSN Requests with a Non-binary Sex Designation: Ask the Applicant to Designate M or F for Purposes of the Application

If a birth certificate or identity document presented as evidence for an original SSN card displays a non-binary or unspecified sex designation, explain that at this time our systems do not accommodate a request for non-binary or unspecified sex designation.

Use the following script:

      Currently, SSA’s record systems require that all SSN holders include a male or female designation in the system. Birth certificates with an X designation (or other non-binary designation) are acceptable at SSA for Social Security Number applications, however, at this time applicants must still designate either Male or Female to apply for an original SSN. SSA is examining ways to address this in the future.

In situations where the applicant declines to designate either Male or Female, a minimum data element required to complete an application for a Social Security card (RM 10205.015), follow normal procedures to provide written notification of why the application cannot be processed (SSA-L676). See RM 00299.020 (select “Other” and notate that “Minimum data elements were not provided to complete an original SSN application.”).


3. Requests to update the NUMIDENT with a Non-binary Sex Designation

As noted above, individuals may request to update the sex designation on the NUMIDENT record or may present these documents as evidence during other transactions. In these cases, we are unable to update the NUMIDENT to include a non-binary or unspecified sex designation. SSA is examining ways to address this in the future.

Use the following script:

      Currently, SSA’s record systems are unable to include a non-binary or unspecified sex designation. SSA is examining ways to address this in the future. Would you like to request a replacement card?

If the number holder is requesting a replacement card, and all criteria are satisfied, issue the replacement card according to RM 10205.015.

If the number holder does not request a replacement card, follow procedures to provide written notification of why the request to update the Social Security Number record cannot be processed. See RM 00299.020 (select “Other” and notate that “Currently, SSA’s record systems are unable to include a non-binary or unspecified sex designation.”).


D. Examples

Original SSN: A newborn’s birth certificate shows the sex designation of X and the SSN cannot be issued through the Enumeration at Birth (EAB) process. The child’s parent or guardian applies for the SSN in the field office. Use the instructions and script in C.2, above, and ask the parent or guardian to indicate M or F.

If the parent or guardian selects M or F, and all other requirements are satisfied, process the application to completion.

If the parent or guardian decline to designate either M or F, follow procedures on providing notification of why the application cannot be processed. See section C.2.

NOTE: In situations where the applicant does not designate either Male or Female, a minimum data element required to complete an application for a Social Security card (RM 10205.015), follow normal procedures to provide written notification of why the application cannot be processed. See RM 00299.020.

Replacement SSN – no change requested: An applicant requests a replacement SSN card and presents a driver’s license with a sex designation “X” as evidence of identity. Review the driver’s license in accordance with RM 10210.410. If the document is otherwise valid and all other criteria for a replacement card are satisfied, issue the replacement card according to RM 10210.015. Do not use the scripts above because the applicant has not requested a NUMIDENT change.

Replacement SSN- NUMIDENT Sex Designation Update Requested: An applicant requests a NUMIDENT sex designation update and replacement card. The applicant presents a driver’s license with a sex designation of “X.” Review the driver’s license in accordance with RM 10210.410. Explain we cannot process a sex designation update to a non-binary or unspecified designation; issue a replacement card if all criteria are met. See C.3.

If the applicant requests a change from male to female or female to male, refer to RM 10212.200.

E. General Reminders

During and after any interaction with an individual who presents a document with a non-binary or unspecified sex designation, be mindful to:

    · Protect the confidentiality of every individual;
    · Ask only questions that are necessary to complete the transaction;
    · Be aware that the individual’s sex designation is a personal matter. Questions and comments regarding a person’s appearance, physical condition, or the administration of medical intervention are inappropriate.

FO staff may direct all program-related and technical questions to their Regional Office (RO) support staff or Program Service Center (PSC) Operations Analysis (OA) staff. RO support staff or PSC OA staff may refer questions, concerns, or problems to their Central Office contact.
EM-22005 - Accepting Documents with a Non-binary Sex Designation or “X” for Enumeration Requests - 02/02/2022