TN 20 (01-04)
GN 00302.530 Hospital Birth Records
Hospital birth records are generally accepted as preferred evidence (see GN 00302.054).
A hospital birth record may be either:
NOTE: A souvenir (or keepsake, ornate, ceremonial, complimentary, goodwill, memento, heirloom, or other alternative) certificate is NOT preferred evidence of age. A souvenir certificate, however, may indicate the existence of preferred evidence. See GN00302.052B. for the policy about when you must obtain preferred evidence of age. See GN 00302.530C. and GN 00301.050E.3. for instructions about souvenir and other alternative certificates.
B. PROCEDURE - WHO MUST CERTIFY
Copies of, or excerpts from, hospital birth records must be certified by the custodian of these records in his/her official capacity, or by an SSA employee.
The custodian must indicate his/her official status by the use of the organization's letterhead or seal or his/her own seal of office. He/she must identify the organization and his/her relationship to the records. Do not develop the date of recordation unless there is doubt about the record's authenticity.
See GN 00301.035 for instructions about accepting certifications of evidence from other government or state agencies.
Excerpts from hospital birth records made by an SSA employee or a letter from the custodian of the record should include the child’s name and date of birth and the mother’s name in order to compare this data with data on other documents.
C. PROCEDURE - ACCEPTABILITY OF HOSPITAL BIRTH RECORDS
Accept properly certified hospital records as preferred evidence for claims purposes or alternative evidence for enumeration.
The FO should, however, at its own discretion, and based on its own experience, question the validity of certain records. There may be factors that could raise a question, including:
Entries that have apparently been altered;
Entries that were apparently added at a later date (shown by use of a different typewriter, ink, and/or handwriting);
If a document’s validity is questionable, do whichever of the following is most expeditious:
Verify the record with the hospital by telephone (through the parallel FO when appropriate) and document the folder and/or SS-5 to show that the record was verified;
Have the claimant request proof of age from the custodian of the record; or
Obtain other evidence of age;
The FO should also question records that appear to have been issued blank or partially completed (souvenir certificates). See GN 00301.050D.3. for instructions about these documents.
If you are unsure whether a hospital birth certificate is a souvenir (or other alternative) record, or a properly certified record, evaluate it using the guidelines in GN 00301.050D.3.
D. PROCEDURE - CITY OF FAITH HOSPITAL
As part of a fund-raising effort in late 1984 for a proposed birth clinic, the City of Faith Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, mailed approximately 800,000 blank hospital birth records throughout the country. The forms are complete with the appropriate signature and hospital seal, except that the child's and parents’ data are not filled out. Since the hospital did not have a maternity ward or birth clinic before late 1984, a birth at that hospital before that time would have been unusual.
NOTE---POLICY---City of Faith Hospital
Hospital birth records issued by the City of Faith Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, cannot be used as evidence of age or any other factor of entitlement or eligibility.
If such a record is submitted in support of a claim or SSN application, request other appropriate evidence.
E. PROCEDURE - FRAUDULENT HOSPITAL RECORDS
Some records from certain hospitals have been found to be fraudulent. See RM 10210.700 for instructions on which hospital records are involved and how to detect these records.