WASHINGTON — If a criminal gets their hands on your Social Security number, it can lead to a nightmare of fighting off identity theft.
Now imagine that happening to your newborn child because of a missing Social Security card.
That’s what Margaret Hayward told members of Congress happened to her infant daughter Marcy.
“Before she was even a month old, a vital piece of our daughter’s identity was compromised,” said Hayward. “When she was 7-weeks old, I realized we had never received her Social Security card.”
For months, Hayward said her family struggled to get help from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
She said they wouldn’t tell her the actual number assigned to Marcy and said they would not issue a new number.
Instead, the family had to order a replacement card that arrived when Marcy was three months old.
“Her original card remains unaccounted for and could be in anyone’s hands,” said Hayward. “The Social Security Administration personnel made what was already a stressful time even more difficult with inconsistent and inaccurate information.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for SSA said: “We apologize for the stress and confusion Ms. Hayward experienced. We will use her testimony and issues raised in this hearing to determine if our policies or process in this area can be improved.”
There is a proposal that is expected to be re-introduced in Congress soon that would streamline the process for people who fear their Social Security number has been compromised.
The bipartisan bill dubbed Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act would create a single point of contact at the SSA for potential victims to help them get the help they need more easily and quickly.
“The last thing that somebody needs when they’re trying to protect themselves or a loved one from identity fraud is red tape,” said Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) during this week’s hearing.
Hayward is hoping Congress makes changes to help other families avoid the same nightmare that her family has endured.
“It’s something that I hope other families won’t ever experience,” said Hayward.
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