GN 00302.585 Statements of Other Persons

A. Current Statements about DB

Statements about DB not based on records should be made

  • On an SSA-702 (Statement Regarding DB and Citizenship), or

  • In any written, signed statement containing substantially the same information as that on a form SSA-702.

NOTE: This section covers current affidavits or statements. Consider older affidavits under the usual rules for evaluating documentary evidence of age. See GN 00302.545 and GN 00302.550 for special guidelines to be used in evaluating parents' affidavits made many years ago.

B. Meaningful and convincing statements

Current statements or affidavits of age by other persons can be weak or strong evidence depending on the circumstances of the case.

Generally, an individual's statement or affidavit is meaningful and convincing if it reflects a concrete basis for the individual's knowledge of the claimant's DB. Such knowledge can be shown by the individual's recall of personal facts such as

  • Attendance at birthday celebrations

  • Attendance at school in the same grade

  • Seeing the DB in a family Bible

  • History of family incidents or events.

A recollection of a personal event relating to the claimant's DB will be more valuable if the affiant can associate it with a commonly known historical fact (see the example at the end of this section).

C. Value and use of statements

In evaluating the strength of a statement or affidavit take care to weigh each statement on its merits. An aged individual can give a vivid and convincing statement, particularly when some event in the individual's life recalls an association with the claimant's DB, the individual appears alert, etc.

Even so, such statements and affidavits are not usually convincing evidence in themselves; however, they can become valuable in corroborating alleged DB's in material discrepancy cases when evidence in file does not clearly establish one DB or the other.

D. Procedures

Whenever the FO is aware that the claimant intends to obtain an affidavit, the FO should attempt to make a personal contact for the completion of the affidavit. The following procedures apply:

IF a personal contact with the individual... AND IF... THEN...

Is possible


  • Contact the individual

  • Complete a form SSA-702

  • Observe the individual and ask additional questions to assist in determining whether the statement is convincing.

NOTE: See example in E. below.


Is not possible

The individual lives in the FO's service area

  • Complete the WE's name and SSN on a form SSA-702

  • Prepare a covering letter which

    • States the purpose of the requested statement, and

    • Gives instructions for completing the form SSA-702

  • Mail the covering letter and SSA-702 to the individual for completion.

NOTE: The covering letter may be supplemented or replaced by a telephone contact.


The individual lives in another FO's service area

  • Follow all of the steps for the mail procedure indicated above except

    • In the letter suggest that the individual take the letter and form SSA-702 to the nearest FO if he/she needs assistance in completing the form.


The individual lives in a foreign country

  • Follow all of the steps for the mail procedure indicated above except

    • In the letter ask the individual to complete the form before a United States Embassy or Consulate official if possible.


E. Example

By itself a statement such as, “I have always known that (the claimant) was two months younger than myself,” is weak. However, through a FO contact and appropriate questioning the statement could be strengthened considerably. For example, questioning might determine that

  • The individual first met the claimant when they became neighbors in August 1928

  • The individual attended the claimant's birthday party later that same month, the year before the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began

  • Both he and the claimant entered fifth grade the following month

  • It was always a point of pride for him to be two months older than the claimant.

Thus, a weak statement becomes meaningful and convincing.

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GN 00302.585 - Statements of Other Persons - 10/06/1994
Batch run: 10/06/1994