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What To Do When the Social Security Office Refuses to Issue a SSN to an Asylum Applicant Who Lacks Identification

What To Do When the Social Security Office Refuses to Issue a SSN to an Asylum Applicant Who Lacks Identification

When any social security offices refuses to issue social security numbers to asylum applicants who have been granted Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) under 8 C.F.R. §274a(c)(8), but who have no other form of identification such as a passport, driver’s license, or other form of government-issued photo ID. For these individuals, the refusal to issue a social security number is a Catch-22 because many states require a social security number as a prerequisite for issuing a driver’s license.

AILA Asylum and Refugee Committee suggests the following steps:

  1. Try another Social Security Administration (SSA) office. If the local office is refusing to issue a social security number, go to another social security office. This does not appear to be a national policy, only a problem at a small number of SSA offices. Many applicants have been successful just by going elsewhere.
  2. Raise it with your local AILA liaison. If your local AILA chapter has an SSA liaison or committee, bring the issue to the attention of that person or committee to address locally.
  3. Contact AILA National. If a local liaison is not available or if steps 1 and 2 do not solve the problem, contact AILA National at reports@aila.org with the subject line “Asylum Applicant SSNs”. Please include the following information:
    a. Attorney name and contact information;
    b. Procedural posture of the case;
    c. Date of initial social security number application;
    d. Description of all efforts made to obtain a social security number; and
    Address of the Social Security Administration office where the social security number was sought.

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