• Victims of Domestic Violence Can Get a New Social Security Number
  • November 16, 2010 | Author: Albertina Webb
  • Law Firm: Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer P.A. - Woodbridge Office
  • Many people may not know but under extreme circumstances, a victim of domestic violence may be able to obtain a new social security number under the HALE Program by the federal government [Harassment, Abuse & Life Endangerment],  to protect against an abuser’s stalking, invasion of privacy and other safety concerns.  This program became effective in November 1998 and was implemented by the Social Security Administration to aid victims of domestic violence.  The concept for the change in policy was to make it easier for victims of domestic violence to elude their abuses and reduce the risk of further domestic violence and possibly death.   Many people are still not aware of this change.  You should speak with your attorney about whether or not you qualify or speak with a representative at the local office.

    Applying for a new social security number is almost the same as initially applying for a social security card.  You are required to appear in person at any social security office.  You cannot do this over the phone or on-line.   You must complete a statement explaining why you qualify for a new social security number.  The representatives will assist you in completing the statement as well as an application for a new number.  You should bring your temporary or final restraining order with you or any consent order that you have obtained documenting the domestic violence.

    Additionally, you will also need to present your current Social Security number; an original documents establishing your U.S. citizenship or immigration status, age, identity and evidence of your legal name change if you have changed your name.  Also, any document that shows the custodial arrangement regarding your children will also be required if you are requesting new numbers for the children as well.

    You should know that if you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected social security card. If you are working, you should also tell your employer so they can update their personnel file.   One reason for making this change is so that your income is correctly posted to your Social Security record, which may affect your receipt of the proper amount of future social security benefits. 
    You should know that changing your social security number could also present problems for you in the future.  As a result of the new number, you will have no credit history under your new number, so it may be very difficult to secure credit cards, car loans or mortgages. Changing your number with SSA will not automatically change it with the IRS, banks or credit bureaus.  You will have to notify these entities individually.  This is something that you should do in writing just in case you are questioned that you never provided the agency with notice.
    Domestic violence is serious and will not stop unless the perpetrator is stopped from continuing with the pattern of abuse and violence.  If you are a victim of domestic violence, or know someone who is a victim, please do not hesitate to speak with your attorney, police, pastor or someone at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), (TTY) 1-800-787-3224.