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Social Security Enumeration At Birth

As of January 1, 2015, there is a new procedure for completion and storage of forms authorizing a Social Security number for a child at birth, also known as Enumeration at Birth. This page provides more information on this new process for our hopsital, birthing center, and midwife partners filing birth records in Oregon.

On this page:

Step-by-Step Instructions for Submission

Whether a family requests a Social Security number for their new baby or not, hospital facility staff or birth attendants should:

Step Additional Information

1. Use state birth worksheets exclusively unless permission to use a custom version has been given.

Discontinue using any tailored versions of the birth worksheets created by your facility that have not been approved by the State Registrar.

2. Ensure the portion of the birth worksheet titled ‘Authorization to Establish Social Security Number at Birth’ is completed for every live birth.

Always have the mother complete and sign the form whether or not they request a Social Security number.

3. On birth record, indicate “yes” or “no” for question asking if a Social Security number (SSN) is requested, whether using OVERS or paper form.

In OVERS, the SSN question appears on the Child page. On the paper Certificate of Live Birth the question appears as item 14.

4. Fax forms titled ‘Authorization to Establish Social Security Number at Birth’ at least once a week to the Center for Health Statistics at 971-673-3122.

Forms can be faxed singly or in a batch as long as they are sent within the same week as completed.

The Center for Health Statistics will receive your faxed forms as electronic documents on a secure server and will store the faxed forms indefinitely.  

Do not use this fax number for any other purpose. Staff are unlikely to review documents and respond in a timely manner.

5. Hold the original forms no less than one year and shred them no more than two years from the date of birth.

You may store the original ‘Authorization to Establish Social Security Number at Birth’ at your facility with the birth worksheets. Do not keep with the medical record.

6. Direct inquiries by parents regarding the social security form to the Center for Health Statistics Registration unit.

Contact Megan Welter at 971-673-1151 or

7. Provide parents with a Social Security Administration (SSA) receipt if requested, form SSA-2853 OP2 (English) or SSA-2853 OP2 SP (Spanish).

The SSA provides more information on SSA receipts for families requesting an SSN for their child.

This form serves as a receipt for the SSN application. The SSA can supply sufficient quantities of this form upon faxed request for distribution to all parents who indicate “yes” to the SSN question on the birth registration form for their newborn.

You may use this template to place an order for receipts from the SSA. (File is .rtf format and may be opened in any text editor.) Fax order requests to 410-965-2037.

Frequently Asked Questions

Staff at the Center for Health Statistics receive numerous questions about the Enumeration at Birth (EAB) process. We present the list of frequently asked questions below.

  1. Where did EAB, also known as requesting a Social Security number on the birth record, come from?
  2. Which records (names, deceased, adoption pending) are sent?
  3. Why are there so many limitations?
  4. Why is the Authorization to Establish SSN at Birth form required?
  5. Why are hospitals involved in a contract between the state and SSA?
  6. Does the parent have a choice?
  7. What do you do and when?
  8. What if the parent has questions?
  9. When should the parent expect the Social Security card?
  10. What if the card does not arrive?
  11. What if the card is incorrect when it arrives (wrong name, blank name)?
  12. What if I have questions?

Where did EAB, also known as requesting a Social Security number on the birth record, come from?

Before the electronic registration of birth, parents contacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) to have Social Security numbers (SSN) assigned to their child. This was a significant amount of staff time for SSA and an inconvenient for parents.

As electronic birth registration grew (think back to DOS floppy discs mailed to the state), SSA was able to receive electronic files on the births. After piloting with three states in 1987, SSA implemented a nationwide system in 1989. By 1997, SSA had contracted with every state, New York City, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In 2004, 90% of all SSNs assigned to infants through SSA were through the EAB process.

Assignment of a social security number is needed for taxes, food stamps, medical assistance, housing assistance, etc., from the time the child is born. Later in life, the SSN provides an authorization to work in the United States and, eventually, the account for retirement benefits. Although routine, assignment of the social security number for an infant is an important legal action.


Which records (names, deceased, adoption pending) are sent?

Records are sent to SSA if all of the following are true:

  • the parent(s) requested a social security number be issued;
  • the child is alive at the time the birth record is created; and
  • all mandatory fields are present.

SSA requires first and last names, address (street, city, state, zip code) of mother, child’s date of birth, child’s sex, city of birth, state of birth, mother’s first and maiden name, father’s first and last name (‘?’ used if father not on record). SSA rejects records with Baby, Babyboy, Baby Boy, Babygirl, or Infant as first name.

While we would prefer not to send a record where an adoption is expected, the system does not block this type of record. When a record is sent, the mother’s name, the mother’s social security number and the mother’s address (to which the social security card will be sent) are included. In an adoption, that information is for the birth mother, not the person who will become the legal parent.


Why are there so many limitations?

There are two reasons for the limitations SSA has for EAB.

  1. SSA has not changed their computer systems in decades. This means their current system has many limitations on data content and format. For example, “Other Middle Name” is not sent to SSA because their system has no such field); first and middle names are each limited to 16 characters including spaces; last names are including spaces; and Suffixes are limited to four characters.
  2. EAB establishes a lifelong identity with SSA. It is important that enough information is received that the person can be identified throughout their life. It is also important that duplicate social security numbers not be assigned to a person.


Why is the Authorization to Establish SSN at Birth form required?

The Authorization to Establish Social Security Number at Birth is required because submitting the child’s name to SSA creates a relationship between the federal government and the child. Parents have the right to control that action. To ease the process of entering the request into OVERS, we have the checkbox on the parent worksheet. The legal authority to request the social security number used to document the request is the Authorization form. The Authorization form is faxed to Vital Records so we can show that we sent the record with the consent of the parents.


Why are hospitals involved in a contract between the state and SSA?

The hospital staff or the midwife is the person in contact with the parent. You, and only you, have the opportunity to talk to the parent and collect and enter the information in OVERS. This is the process throughout the country and is not unique to Oregon, although details of the process vary from state to state.


Does the parent have a choice?

Yes, the parent has the right to authorize or not authorize the issuance of a social security number for their child. A parent cannot require a social security number be issued through the EAB process for a child who is deceased or unnamed.

If a parent assures you that “Baby Boy” is intended to be the child’s life-long name, please tell them the Social Security Administration’s system screens out that record. The hospital and Vital Records cannot control this limitation and cannot push through the request. The parent must go to SSA directly to have the number issued.


What do you do and when?

For each birth, the birth clerk or midwife must do the following:

  • Use the standard worksheet (state or approved facility-specific) which includes both the checkbox for whether to request SSN for the child and the “Authorization to Establish Social Security Number at Birth” form (page four of worksheet).
  • If the parent selects “yes,” offer the “Message from Social Security” form that acts as a receipt/confirmation of the social security number request.
  • Enter the information into OVERS as authorized by the parent.
  • Fax the “Authorization to Establish Social Security Number at Birth” to the fax number dedicated to EAB which is 971-679-3122. You can fax forms individually or as a group. Forms should be faxed within one week of the birth.
  • Keep the full parent worksheet, including the “Authorization to Establish Social Security Number at Birth” no less than one year, then shred no later than two years after the date of birth. Do not keep any part of the parent worksheet in the patient’s medical record.

The birth clerk or midwife should contact the Social Security Administration as needed for additional “Message from Social Security” forms. CHS is not notified by SSA when language is updated on the form. Here is a sample template for requesting forms.


What if the parent has questions?

If the parent has questions you cannot answer, please relay those questions to us. We provide general information to parents on how to request a SSN and limitations of the EAB process. However, Oregon is a closed record state, so we cannot share information without knowing the identity of the person with whom we are speaking. We cannot provide specific information to a parent (such as, what mailing address do you have listed for the mother) by telephone, letter or email. Specific questions must come from the birth clerk or midwife.


When should the parent expect the Social Security card?

The Social Security Administration has Oregon as a three-week state. This means the social security card should arrive within three weeks of the child’s birth.


What if the card does not arrive?

Contact our office if the card has not been received. There are several reasons the card might not arrive, such as failing edits at Social Security related to name, or an incorrect mailing address. Social Security cards are sent within the United States and Mexico. If the country was mistakenly entered as “Untied States” for example, the address would need to be corrected.

Vital Records can resubmit records rejected by SSA, but we cannot submit corrections for accepted records. This is a limitation of the system processing EAB. Most corrections need to occur at the SSA office.


What if the card is incorrect when it arrives (wrong name, blank name)?

Sometimes the card is received with incorrect information. If the name is incorrect and the parents did not change the baby’s name after the record was registered, the parents should contact the hospital or midwife to correct the spelling of the child’s name.

If the name is cut off after a certain number of letters, that is most likely the limitation of the SSA’s electronic system. It cannot be changed at Vital Records. Parents are encouraged to order a certified copy of the birth certificate to confirm the correct information appears on the record.

To correct information on a social security card, the parent will need to contact SSA directly and provide documentation required by them. Vital Records cannot process corrections to SSA. We are limited to original records only – once a record is submitted to SSA, any additional send will either be rejected as a duplicate and not processed, or it will be accepted as a new record resulting in a duplicate social security number being issued. Neither of these options meets the parents’ goals. You (or the parent) can find the closest SSA office at


What if I have questions?

Please contact Registration with any questions on the EAB process ( or at 971-673-1151).


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