A friend has legal guardianship of his 16 year-old grandson. The grandson is listed with SSI under a last name that is not same as the legal name shown on his certified Tennessee birth certificate. This is causing some difficulty in obtaining help for this boy. Only his parents know how this name confusion happened, and they are not in touch with the family. Can you give some information that could help resolve this problem? Thank you.
The family has talked to a local Wayne County Tennessee judge. He was unsure but thought it would involve a court proceeding with an advocate speaking for the boy. The family is unsure if the advocate should be an attorney, someone from the TN Child Protection Agency or someone from SSI.
Good afternoon, I'm sorry to hear of the situation. What will probably be needed is a petition for a name change to change the legal name used by the child in recent years to his birth name, or to change his legal last name from his birth name to the name he has been using all these years. The process will not be easy because generally the parents are both required to consent to the name change of a minor. As the Legal Guardian, the grandfather may file the petition for the name change. He would be well advised to have a local attorney handle the process because someone is going to have to explain to the judge what happened here---or explain that the cause is incapable of being determined---and a local lawyer is the best person to do that for the court. Once the court approves the name change---whichever way the young man wants it---the court order can be used as proof of legal identity for purposes of social security and SSI. I hope that you found my answer informative, that you are accepting of my efforts and that you will rate my efforts based on the knowledge I have provided to you. I wish you the best in 2012. Thank you. Doug
I have more than 28 years of litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration