Get Gephardt helps retiree deadlocked with Social Security over lost birth certificate

Feb 28, 2024, 12:34 PM | Updated: 12:41 pm

WEST JORDAN — The United States has been home for Hung Tran for nearly 50 years. He came here as a refugee fleeing war-torn Vietnam in 1975.

“That’s when I started paying taxes,” Tran said.

Hung has lived and worked in this country that whole time, having money from each paycheck go towards his Social Security account. Now he’s retired and ready to collect that money he’s earned. The only thing is – he can’t.

“I got the letter from them (Social Security Administration) that they denied it,” he said.

The Social Security Administration suspects fraud. For Tran to prove his identity to the government, he needs to provide them with his original birth certificate. That’s a problem.

“I left Vietnam back then and I don’t have anything,” he said.

All he has is a duplicate copy. Tran tried to appeal the denial but was shut down again.

“I feel like I’ve been betrayed,” he said. “This is my country now.”

Not sure where else to turn, Tran decided it was time to call the KSL Investigators.

On its website, the Social Security Administration makes it clear that they cannot accept photocopies.

So, is that it for Tran?

I reached out to the administration on his behalf which told me: “An official record of birth is preferable, but if no such record is obtainable, we will make a determination based on the best evidence available.”

Citing privacy concerns, the administration refused to go into details about Tran’s situation. But it did tell me he would be hearing from someone in their Utah office that will, hopefully, help him finally collect his earned money.

Again, the Social Security Administration makes it clear that they cannot accept photocopies. So, if you are nearing the age of needing your benefits, it may be time to double-check that you have your birth certificate. As Tran can attest, it could save you a lot of effort down the road.

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Get Gephardt helps retiree deadlocked with Social Security over lost birth certificate