Your baby's birth certificate and Social Security number

After your baby is born, the hospital staff will gather information to complete the birth certificate and send it to the state health department.

The procedures for getting a copy of your baby's birth certificate depend on the county in which your baby is born. Ask your birth center staff how you can get a copy of your baby's birth certificate. (You may receive a souvenir certificate. This is not an official birth certificate).

On the birth certificate questionnaire is a question asking if you want to apply for a Social Security number for your baby. Although your baby doesn't legally need a Social Security number for one year, now is the easiest time to apply for one.

Any child older than one year old who is listed as a dependent on a tax return is required to have a Social Security number. You will also need your baby's Social Security number to open a bank account, buy savings bonds, or apply for government services for your baby.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/02/2015