Trustee Blog

Verifying Social Security Number

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One of the duties of the Chapter 7 Trustee like Riverside Bankruptcy Trustee Helen Frazer is to verify that the Social Security number of the debtor is the one issued to the client by the Social Security Administration. This requirement is found in the Chapter 7 Trustee’s handbook from October 2012 at page 3-5:


At the meeting of creditors, each individual debtor must present original government- issued photo identification and confirmation of the social security number listed in the notice of the meeting of creditors received by the trustee. 11 U.S.C. § 521(h) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 4002(b)(1). The trustee must not ask the debtor to verbally recite on the record their social security number or address, but should verify both.

Any document used to confirm a debtor’s identity and social security number must be an original. 28 U.S.C. § 586. Copies may not be accepted, except that in the discretion of the trustee, a copy of a W-2 Form, an IRS Form 1099, or a recent payroll stub may be accepted. Acceptable forms of picture identification (ID) include: driver’s license, U.S. government ID, state ID, student ID, passport (or current visa, if not a U.S. citizen), military ID, resident alien card, and identity card issued by a national government authority.

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 trustee must inquire further in order to verify identity. In that situation, proof of an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) issued by the IRS for those people not eligible for a social security number is acceptable documentation. 28 U.S.C. § 586.

If a debtor fails to provide the required forms of identification, the trustee may proceed with the normal questioning at the meeting of creditors, but must continue the meeting to the trustee’s next scheduled meeting date for production of the identification. At the trustee’s discretion, the trustee may allow the debtor to present the required identification before the next scheduled meeting. If the debtor provides the required documentation, the trustee may have the continued meeting deemed concluded, provided that there are no other pending issues that warrant reconvening the meeting. 28 U.S.C. § 586.

If the debtor’s identity cannot be confirmed, or the social security number listed on the debtor’s bankruptcy documents cannot be confirmed or is incorrect, the trustee must refer the matter to the United States Trustee. 28 U.S.C. § 586. See the Supplementary Materials for the Notice to United States Trustee of Debtor Identity Problem.




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