Bailey Hunter has nearly everything a newborn needs, including a loving mom, a protective big sister and lots of toys. But the 2-month-old is missing one thing she will need for the rest of her life: a Social Security number.
While it may not seem like a vital necessity for a newborn, Bailey's mother Heather Hunter says she needs the number to add Bailey to her insurance and all the doctor visits that come with having a newborn.
"A Social Security number nowadays is not just a Social Security card. It’s, you know, it's not something you do at the end of your life. It’s basically an identification for everybody," Hunter told News4.
Hunter filled out the necessary paperwork for Bailey's Social Security number after giving birth at Sibley Memorial Hospital. She then waited for the Social Security number and card to come in the mail — the same thing she did when she had Quinn, her 18-month-old daughter.
One week went by, then another and another.
"Did it get lost in the mail? And I’m starting to think if it got lost in the mail, did someone steal it? Do I need to get LifeLock?" Hunter said.
After more than a month of frustration, Hunter called the Social Security Administration, which told her the delay didn't involve the agency.
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Sibley Memorial Hospital told her the problem originated at the DC Vital Records office at the city's health department. Vital Records is responsible for getting the information to the Social Security Administration.
"DC Vital Records was first made aware that SSA was not receiving enumeration of birth files in November and immediately notified medical facilities. DC Vital Records has since been working with SSA to trouble shoot the issue," the DC Department of Health said in a statement to News4.
According to Sibley Memorial, the issue affects more than 750 babies born at the hospital in the past two months. DC Health said the issue has affected all hospitals in the city. It's not clear how many total families have been affected.
"What normally takes about two weeks to get a Social Security card is now about two months," Hunter said.
Hunter says of all the things a new mom should be worried about, the potential identity theft or a infant isn't one of them.
"The fact that is hasn’t been resolved is still very annoying," she said.
The DC Department of Health said it notifies the Social Security Administration as a "courtesy" to new parents, but that parents can apply directly to the agency for Social Security numbers.
DC Health also said the issue is not affecting distribution of birth certificates and other records.
In a statement to News4 on Friday, the Social Security Administration said the following:
"Together, Social Security and the DC’s Vital Records Office are diligently working to resolve the electronic transmissions of birth information to enumerate their newborns."