On the September 24, 2013 post for Chapter 7 Trustee Helen Frazer, we discussed the documentation needed to show proof of identification. The proof needed for verification of Social Security Number is described in the recent edition of the Chapter 7 Trustee’s Handbook as:
“Acceptable forms of proof of social security number include: social security card, medical insurance card, pay stub, W-2 form, IRS Form 1099, and Social Security Administration (SSA) Statement. When debtors state that they are not eligible for a social security number….”
The problem occurs when a client does not have his or her Social Security Card. The Chapter 7 Trustee must verify the number and needs an original document to do so. The meeting of creditors cannot be concluded unless acceptable proof is presented. Some Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees in the Riverside Division will not conduct the hearing unless the proof is presented. Other Trustees will conduct the hearing, but will continued the hearing to another day to verify the proof.
In order to avoid a continued hearing, I advise my clients to obtain a “verification of Social Security number” from the Social Security Administration. The client goes to the local Social Security Office with valid proof of identification and asks for a “verification of Social Security number”. I also ask the client to ask the SSA staff to stamp the form with the official office stamp to prove it is official. This is a one page computer print out that has the Social Security number on it.The Bankruptcy Trustees will use this print out as valid proof of the Social Security Number.
Ask your client at time of intake to see if he has valid proof of Social Security. If he does not then make sure he obtains the proof before you file the case, that way you will be sure he has it for the hearing.