Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee Howard Grobstein asked a debtor today if her Social Security card was valid. He said that the paper printed and the type style was different than the regular Social Security cards given by the Social Security Administration. The debtor said that she lost her original and that this was a replacement card. The Trustee took a copy of the presented card. Then he continued the case for other reasons. My thought is that he would refer the case to the US Trustee to investigate the Social Security issue.
In many ethnic communities in Southern California, people can buy false Social Security Cards in order for undocumented workers to work in the United States. The cards look similar to the originals, but they are false.
This problem comes up from time to time and should be noted in your office. If the card does not look or feel right, ask the client to go to the local Social Security Administration office to obtain a verification of Social Security number. This computer print out will prove the validity of the number and can be used in place of the card to prove the Social Security number.
Ask your clients for their Social Security proof when you first meet them. This way you can evaluate whether the form is valid or if they do not have proof, steps can be taken to obtain the proof. It is my experience that it takes about 6 weeks for the Social Security Administration to send your client a new Social Security card. However it only takes the Social Security Office a few minutes to print out the verification. Take care of this at the front end of the case and you can save your client a continuance of their meeting of creditors.