How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Barbara Your Own Question
Barbara, Enrolled Agent
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 2673
Experience:  18+ years of experience in tax preparation; 25+ years of experience as a real estate/corporate paralegal.
Type Your Social Security Question Here...
Barbara is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My mom is 80 years old and ready to retire and collect her

Customer Question

My mom is 80 years old and ready to retire and collect her social security payments. Her problem is that she was born at home in China and does not have a birth certificate. What can she do about this?
JA: The Retirement Accountant will know how to help. Please tell me more, so we can help you best.
Customer: My name is Jeff
JA: Is there anything else the Retirement Accountant should be aware of?
Customer: Yes, she obtained an alien card upon entry into the US in 1939 but has not renewed it. We are in the process of going through naturalization.
Submitted: 21 days ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Barbara replied 21 days ago.

Welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you.

From the SSA website:

"The documents SSA may ask for are:

  • your Social Security card (or a record of your number);
  • your original birth certificate or other proof of birth (You may also submit a copy of your birth certificate certified by the issuing agency);
  • proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the U.S. [More Info];
  • a copy of your U.S. military service paper(s) (e.g., DD-214 - Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) if you had military service before 1968; and
  • a copy of your W-2 form(s) and/or self-employment tax return for last year.

If you are a U.S. Citizen born outside the U.S., we need to see a document such as a:

  • U.S. consular report of birth,
  • U.S. passport,
  • Certificate of Naturalization, or
  • Certificate of Citizenship.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, we need to see your Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents, including form I-551 (Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as a "Green Card") to verify your 9-digit Alien Registration Number (A-Number). If you have a DHS form I-94, Admission-Departure Record, we need to see that document to verify your 11-digit Admission Number.

We must see the original document(s), or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept documents if they have expired. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. We will return all documents to you unless you specifically tell us otherwise. If you have the documents we need, you should submit them as soon as possible. If you don't have all the documents, you should submit any documents you do have. We will help you get the other documents."

My best advice would be for your mom to visit her local SSA office and bring with her as many of the documents that are listed that she has to start the process to collect SS benefits.

Please let me know if I can assist you further.

Thank you and best regards,


Related Social Security Questions