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Ask the experts: Legal documents for your newborn

In the fourth installment of our Ask the Expert series on prebaby paperwork, Brenda Ogle, Director of Health Information Management at DeKalb Regional Medical Center in Fort Payne, AL explains the process of obtaining a birth certificate and Social Security card for your baby. When it comes to prebaby paperwork most moms will tell you...

In the fourth installment of our Ask the Expert series on prebaby paperwork, Brenda Ogle, Director of Health Information Management at DeKalb Regional Medical Center in Fort Payne, AL explains the process of obtaining a birth certificate and Social Security card for your baby.


When it comes to prebaby paperwork most moms will tell you that they don’t even remember what they had to do in order to get a birth certificate and Social Security card. The reason most moms don’t remember this very important detail is because a lot of hospitals take care of those details for you.
Though hospital protocol may differ from facility to facility, at DRMC the Health Information Management Department (HIM) takes care of getting a newborn a certified copy of his or her birth certificate and filing for the Social Security Card. Every morning a worksheet is given to each new mother so that they can provide the proper information regarding birth certificates. When you receive this paperwork, this is where you will list the newborn’s official name as well as the name of the father. Later that morning, an HIM clerk returns to verify the information with the mother before it is submitted electronically to the State. A verification of birth is then printed, as well as proof that the Social Security number has been applied for on behalf of the newborn. This document will allow the parents to add the child to their insurance plans, etc., while awaiting the certified copy of the birth certificate to arrive in the mail, which usually takes 6 to 8 weeks.
There is a small fee for the cost of the certified copy of the birth certificate and parents may order one or more copies of the certified certificate. Fees will vary by state and will generally be collected in addition to your hospital bill either at time of registration, or at the bedside.
If unwed mothers wish to have the father added to the birth certificates, hospitals may provide that service by filing a Paternity Affidavit that has to be signed by both parents and is notarized. A picture ID is required of the father. The paternity affidavits are mailed to the state and when the certified copy of the birth certificate arrives both parents will be listed.
Most hospitals will have similar steps in place to ensure all of the necessary paperwork is completed prior to discharging both the mother and her new baby. Every state has strict regulations to ensure newborns can be properly identified, and the hospital is required to abide by those regulations. Hopefully, you will forget soon after your new one is here what the process is for prebaby paperwork because your hospital made it easy for you!

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