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Does anyone have any ideas on how to deal with bureacracy?

Over the past few months I've been spending a lot of time helping out my friend, “J”. I've known him and his wife, “K” for 18 years. We had keys to each others houses, did cat-sitting for each other, etc.

K died of a completely unexpected massive heart attack in August. Shortly prior to that, J, who has had diabetes since childhood, had to go on dialysis 3x a week. K had been in the process of getting him signed on for disability, but she died before she could get that really going.

It's been one bureaucratic hassle after another. J hadn't been able to drive for awhile, and his California drivers license had expired, and he hadn't renewed it, nor had he gotten a California ID card. So he didn't have any valid form of identification. To qualify for disability, he had to have a copy of his birth certificate. To get the birth certificate, he had to have a valid California ID.

Well, over the course of several weeks, he got the ID from DMV, he got the birth certificate from the State of Florida. But the birth certificate is in his birth name, which he hasn't used since he was two years old and his mother remarried. He has no idea if her second husband ever formally adopted him, but he has used that last name his entire life, and all of his ID is in that name. But since the birth certificate is in his birth name, Social Security is insisting he provide some other documentation he is actually that person. Can't blame them, but he has absolutely no documentation of that name; his parents passed away in the 80s, and we're not sure where to turn next.

I called the Social Security office today, and they said he needs to call his elementary, middle and high schools and colleges, if any, and get transcripts of his school records. I pointed out that all of that would be in his new name, not his old, but they said this would help to establish his identity.

I guess that's the next step. Sigh. In the meantime, he has no income and he is almost out of money. I have no idea what to do next. This process has been going on for four months now, and he’s no closer to getting on disability now than he was in August.

At least he qualified for a medvan to take him to dialysis!

Comments

Boy, this is a tough one.

Does he have his mother's marriage certificate? That would have her maiden name and the surname he currently has. Mom, a genealogist, says you should write to the county his parents were married in and include both their full names and date of marriage. You can write to the state, but they take longer and aren't as persistent. You'll need to include a money order and a SASE (costs vary, so check the googled websites.) Also be sure to tell them that he needs this info to prove his identity/lineage.

When his parents died, was he included in their wills? That might help. She says he could obtain copies of their wills from the county clerks office, from the counties in which they died.

If we think of anything else, we'll let you know.

Good luck.
Thanks for all the suggestions! Hugs!

Right now, he has *no* family papers whatsoever. His nearest relatives are 2000 miles away. I've asked him to call them to see if they can figure out where this paperwork might be.

Thanks for the suggestions about writing to the county where his mother and stepfather got married. I've made notes from everything you suggested, and I'll be asking him for more information later today.
I don't have any idea...I just wanted to say that now I understand why you're struggling so much in rl lately. I'm crossing my fingers that the mess will clear up, and that you'll be able to have a nice christmas :)
Thanks so much, and hugs! It's been such a damn frustrating situation. It had looked so linear at the beginning - get Cal ID card, get birth certificate, get qualified for disability. It isn't like there's any question about his disability. Now, there seems to be such a huge chasm between where we are and where we need to be.

I'm finding this incredibly maddening. And I used to work for the civil service, so at least I have some familiarity with how all this operates.
http://www.familysearch.org/ENG/Search/RG/frameset_rg.asp?Dest=G&Aid=882&Gid=0&Sid=10037&Sisgid=11984&Lid=355&Did=762&Guide=US_BDT3_Government_Births_and_Deaths.asp&Juris1=355&Event=Birth&Year=762&Gloss=Birth+Record&Sub=Vital+records&Tab=Search&Entry=3&Loc=Florida,+United+States

That is a site from my mom's genealogy habit. If you scroll down, you will find all the states and their requirements for asking for records.

Mom thought that mortuary records might help, to show that J was acknowledged as the son of his parents. J's mom's marriage certificate would be nice, still.

If you have any questions, be sure to ask. Mom loves a challenge.

Good luck.
And thanks for all these suggestions! I'll let you know what happens - and I appreciate your offer to help with these questions. Hugs!
call the social secuiry office again - speak to someone else. I found in my appliciation I dealt with people with varying levels of knowledge.

Plus:

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10002.html#proving
http://www.ssa.gov/ss5doc/ss5doctext.htm
Thanks for the suggestion! I'll call them back on Monday. I left a voicemail for his rep, and she didn't call me back. He's told me she's *never* called him back, so I'll just talk to someone else and ask if he can get another rep.
Thanks also for the social security links. I just went there and took down the information.
I have exactly the same name situation as J. Though never legally adopted, I have used my stepfather's name since age 13. Every legal document I have is in his name. When I was checking on how I could obtain a passport under this situation, the instructions from the passport office,and also in speaking with someone at the PO, said that if you had 1 or 2 notarized letters from people who had known you a long time (the more years, the better), that would satisfy their requirement that You (even though your birth certificate shows Surname A) are actually You Surname B, consistent with all your legal records - and that would be sufficient ID to grant you a passport. Since the requirements for getting a passport are the most stringent there are (as far as I'm aware of), the same thing should certainly satisfy the SSA. If not, he can get a passport *g* and surely the SSA would accept that as ID!

Good luck!
Thanks! I thought about your situation this morning, and was going to ask you this very question - and here you are, already posting it to my journal. Hugs! The passport idea is a really interesting one. I'll look into this.
I never followed through on it, but I actually should, for ID if for no other reason. And actually, you and R would be the people I'd ask for the letter ;-) LOL - too bad you can't notarize your own letter! Of course, first I need to send for my birth certificate. I used to have a certified copy but lost it in the fire and never got it replaced. That'd be step 1 for me.
Well, if you ever need a notarized letter, I'm your person! Yes, too bad you can't notarize your own. It would be a really good idea to get that birth certificate. It's always nice when you have all those details taken care of.