Monday, February 27, 2006

I Love Bureaucracy

Apparently, I am not who I say I am. This has been causing some issues with the Colorado DMV and now, with the Social Security office.

When I got married in 1989, I changed my name via my marriage certificate (this is one of the few ways you can change your name without having to go to court, I guess -- just note your original name and the name you want to be after your marriage). I also at the time sent in the necessary stuff to change my name with the SSA. Or so I thought.

They don't have any record of the change, so my SS record has my maiden name. No one thought that this was a huge issue (the taxes and such all are getting done properly), and I have all my current idenfications (passport, employment records, drivers record) with my actual married name. No problems.

So, all the different databases are being compared to find fraud or identify-theft, or whatnot, and my records get flagged because of the name. Easy enough to fix, right? The application to change my name says bring a birth certificate, marriage certificate, and current ID and voila! Fixed.

Not so easy at all. Apparently, they require that I provide certified documents to prove my identity before I got married. The birth certificate - marriage license combo is not enough. So I have to find SOMETHING that clearly identifies me a my maiden name with my SSN and my birthdate on it. A marriage certificate doesn't cut it.

It's been seventeen years. I don't have anything remotely resembling an ID with that information on it. I have a few very old W-2s from previous employers, but those aren't acceptable. My previous SS card is not acceptable. They suggested a medical record or school transcript of some sort. Hello, people! This was almost two decades ago. The information that I brought is all I have. It is supposed to clearly identify me as ME.

Two hours at the DMV to be told that it's really the SSA that's wrong -- shlep across town and sit for another two hours in their office to be told that I can't, actually, prove who I am with the documents the government has previously issued me. I have to find something else. Maybe that works for people under 20, but for those of us trying to prove this from 1989...well, no one I've talked to at the UofM or the Vital Records office of the county in MN have any idea what I can use. They're going to try to find my original marriage license application in the basement to see if that might be usable...but I don't think that comes in a "certified" format that the SSA will accept.

I've talked the SSA three times today, including the office visit, and they're pretty damn vague on what can be used. I've talked to Ramsey County, I've talked to the state. I have no idea where to go from here. Hopefully one of them can come through.

They've set the rules up so it's impossible to actually comply. If they need more info, they should make sure that the stuff they ask for is available! It might be easier to change my name back than deal with the ridiculous requirements.

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