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View Diary: Do you have your birth certificate? (250 comments)

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  •  The one lesson I've learned: (3+ / 0-)

    Just take everything with you when you go to government offices to make changes to your documents (get a license, passport, new SSC, whatever).  And I mean EVERYTHING, especially if you have changed your name at some point.

    When we got married, I just tacked my husband's last name onto the end of my name, wanting to take his but also keep mine, thus leaving me with two middle names (my birth middle name and birth last name).  This is perfectly legal to do on a social security card...I think you're allowed up to three "middle" names.  However, it will make your life impossible, something I did not consider at the time.  

    A couple years ago, I lost my SSC and had to apply for a new one.  To do that, we had to journey to the tiny town in the mountains of NC where I was born to get a certified copy of my birth certificate.  Thus, we come upon hurdle #1.  I was born in a very small hospital before the computer age, and my birth certificate was filled in BY HAND at the hospital (by someone with not-too-great handwriting).  So once I actually got the new certificate, I had the social security office of Bumf*ck, NC questioning me on whether or not I'd FORGED my birth certificate, despite being born about ten miles away (because "no one" has hand-written birth certificates).

    On to hurdle #2.  As I said, I changed my legal last name upon being married.  I'd already gotten a new SSC with all four names on it after the name change, so I didn't think I would need our marriage certificate or my name change paperwork to get a new copy of the exact same SSC.  WRONG.  We had to go back home to get all these documents so that I could prove I had legally changed my name, even though said name was on my license and passport (and, you know, already changed once with the social security office in this town).  

    Despite clarifying these changes, from time to time I still get mail from the IRS or other agencies with the wrong middle initials or last name, which I then have to call and correct (Two years ago the IRS wanted me to file two returns, one for each name like I was two different people).  Except now, whenever I go to any office to make changes to anything I take my license, certified birth certificate, SSC, marriage certificate, name change forms, passport, and a bill or two with a current address, for good measure.  It's a huge pain gathering all this, but if you want to avoid unnecessary drives and headaches you should just take it all with you, every time.

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