Get Acceptable Proof of Applicant Household’s Social Security Numbers
HUD generally requires you to get Social Security numbers (SSNs) for all members of an applicant household who are at least 6 years old. And HUD requires you to get proof of those numbers and specifies which documents you can accept as proof. But what if a household member was never issued an SSN? Or what if a household member can’t give you one of the specified documents?
We’ll tell you what documents you can accept to prove (or verify) a household member’s SSN. And we’ll tell you what to do if a member doesn’t have an SSN or doesn’t have one of the specified documents. We’ll also give you a Model Form: Require Household Members to Certify SSNs in Three Situations, which you can give to members of an applicant household to satisfy HUD’s rules.
Acceptable Proof of SSN
The following documents are acceptable proof of a household member’s SSN:
· Original Social Security card (this is what most people will give you);
· Driver’s license;
· Identification card issued by a federal, state, or local agency, a medical insurance provider, or an employer or trade union;
· Earnings statements on payroll stubs;
· Bank statement;
· Form 1099;
· Benefit award letter;
· Retirement benefit letter;
· Life insurance policy; or
· Court records [HUD Handbook 4350.3, app. 3].
To be acceptable proof, the document must specify the household member’s SSN. Most of these documents will have a household member’s SSN listed on them. But some of them, such as an identification card issued by a trade union or court records, may not.
If the proof is any document except the original Social Security card, you must also get an additional document from the household member—a special certification that the document he’s giving you to prove his SSN is “complete and accurate” [Handbook 4350.3, par. 3-31(C)].
How to Handle Two Situations
What if a household member doesn’t have an SSN or one of the acceptable documents? Here’s what to do in these two situations.
Situation #1: No SSN. Not everyone has an SSN. A household member might not have one if she was never employed or never had an employer who required her to get an SSN.
What to do. You shouldn’t reject the household’s application. Instead, require the household member without an SSN to certify that she doesn’t have one [Handbook 4350.3, par. 3-9(A)(2)]. A household member who has never been issued an SSN is eligible for housing assistance provided that she signs a certification like this. You can reject a household’s application if a member refuses to sign this certification [Handbook 4350.3, par. 4-9(B)(2)].
At each recertification, ask the household if any household member who previously reported that she didn’t have an SSN got one over the last recertification year. If a household member did get one, you must get one of the documents listed above as proof, and a certification if it’s any document other than a Social Security card. If the household member still doesn’t have an SSN, you must ask her to certify that again [Handbook 4350.3, par. 5-17(B)(4)].
Situation #2: No acceptable document. Say a household member tells you that he has an SSN, but he doesn’t currently have one of the acceptable documents to prove that number.
What to do. HUD doesn’t require you to immediately reject the household’s application. Instead, have the member tell you his SSN. Then, explain that the member has 60 days to get an acceptable document to you. Also, require the member to certify that the SSN he gave you is accurate but that he can’t provide acceptable documentation of the number [Handbook 4350.3, par. 3-9(C)(1)].
Once you have the member’s SSN and certification, continue to process the application. If you determine that the household is otherwise eligible for admission to the site, except for the missing proof of SSN document, keep the household’s place on the waiting list during the 60-day period [Handbook 4350.3, par. 3-9(C)(4)]. But don’t move the household into a unit, even if it’s eligible on all grounds except for the missing SSN documentation, until you get acceptable proof of the member’s SSN [Handbook 4350.3, par. 3-9(C)(5)].
If after 60 days the member hasn’t produced the document, the applicant should be determined ineligible and removed from the waiting list [Handbook 4350.3, par. 4-9(B)(5)]. If the member is 62 years or older, you may give him an additional 60 days to give you the SSN document, if you choose [Handbook 4350.3, par. 3-9(C)(6)]. Be sure you have a written policy about how to treat these situations, so that all applicant households with members 62 or older are treated the same.
If you need any certification for a household member who’s younger than 18 years old and not a household head, co-head, or spouse, have the member’s parent or guardian sign it. But you don’t have to require any certification for a household member under age 6, because HUD doesn’t require that applicant households disclose SSNs for household members under 6 years of age.
See The Model Tools For This Article
|Require Household Members to Certify SSNs in Three Situations|