TN 9 (02-85)

GN 00302.470 Discrepancy in Claimant's Name — Major Differences

A. Definition

A major difference is one in which the name on the record is so different from the one the claimant now uses that a question is raised as to whether the document pertains to the claimant.

B. Types of major name differences

The following list contains examples of major differences; other types of major differences may exist.

Type of Difference Examples
Given name is omitted
  • Baby girl Jones

  • Robert Jones/Theodore Robert Jones

Given name is different
  • Sara Jo Clay/Mary Jo Clay

  • R.D. Smith/Ronald Dean Smith

Given name is changed and the basis for change is not shown ——
Given name is changed and the basis is a document less than 5 years old. ——
Surname is different and is other than a simplified foreign surname (see GN 00302.460).
  • Parker/Perkins

  • James/Jamison

C. Procedures to resolve major name discrepancies

Take one of the following actions to resolve a major name discrepancy:

  • Compare the identifying information (e.g., DB, parents' names) on the evidence presented to the identifying information on the NUMIDENT and include a copy of the NUMIDENT in file.

  • Obtain a document recorded at least 5 years before the current filing date that, in the adjudicator's opinion, clearly belongs to the claimant and corroborates the DB indicated by the record.

    NOTE: Where no NUMIDENT record exists, the corroborating document may be another SSA record, including an E/R.

    For example, if the OCRO field for displaying discrepant identifying information on the E/R is blank, it means the surname and DB which were input matched the information in SSA's records, and (assuming it was established at least 5 years ago) the SSA record corroborates another record even though the given name is not shown.

  • Obtain an explanation of the difference from the claimant on an SSA-795 or an RC.

  • Document the file with an RC explaining why the adjudicator believes the record clearly belongs to the claimant.

    NOTE: A simple statement of opinion such as “I believe the birth record presented belongs to claimant,” is not sufficient.

    The adjudicator must include his/her rationale for concluding that the record pertains to the claimant.

    EXAMPLE: The application shows the claimant's name to be “Patrick McGregor”. The BC shows “Smedley Patrick McGregor.” The following explanation would be adequate: “Our office has seen many examples where a male child born in the 1920's was given the name “Smedley” in recognition of a local hero; however, the name was seldom or never used by the time the child entered school. Since the other identifying information matches the information already in file, I am assuming the record pertains to the claimant.”

If one of the above actions fails to resolve the name difference, take one (or more) of the other actions shown above before using the questionable document as proof of age.


    NOTE: If this further development does not resolve the issue and remove any doubt that the record belongs to the claimant, assign the record low probative value, and base the DB on other evidence.

D. Multiple name discrepancies

If more than one document is submitted which has a name discrepancy (e.g., the claimant has used aliases), obtain a written statement from the claimant to explain the various names. If you are still not convinced that a particular document pertains to the claimant, take one or more of the actions described in C. above.

However, do not resolve a name discrepancy if it appears on a document that would not, even if corroborated, influence your determination.

E. Supporting evidence shows a discrepant DB

A document with discrepant DB information which was meant to resolve a name discrepancy on another document submitted as evidence of age does not establish that the latter record refers to the claimant. Follow the procedure below in this situation.

IF the document meant to be corroborated by the discrepant evidence is... THEN...
Preferred evidence Obtain another document recorded at least 5 years before the current filing date.

Other than preferred evidence

  • Develop as a material discrepancy case (see GN 00302.170)

  • Resolve the DB discrepancy as well as the identity question, and

  • Include the rationale in the claims file (e.g., on an RC or special determination)

    NOTE: If the explanations are unconvincing or the evidence questionable, assign low probative value to the discrepant document.

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GN 00302.470 - Discrepancy in Claimant's Name — Major Differences - 04/24/2001
Batch run: 04/24/2001