Social Question

Nullo's avatar

How would a government handle a person who never got any paperwork?

Asked by Nullo (21828 points ) October 5th, 2012

Say you’re living Blast from the Past, and were born in a fallout shelter underneath the San Fernando Valley, and lived there until shortly after your 30th birthday.
You go up to the surface and try to have a life and find that everybody wants documents – especially birth records and social security numbers – that you don’t have because you were too busy living below what you thought was a radioactive wasteland to bother to go and get.

What do you do? How do you start existing?

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16 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

You go to the nearest county recorder and ask to get a birth certificate, and explain the circumstances. From that you can build the rest of it: apply for a SS card, then start in on the rest of it.

But, you don’t have to do all that if you want to stay off the grid.

And, if you’ve been living underground all this time and come up to find there was no nuclear war, then you probably have a lot more issues to deal with than getting your papers in order.

JLeslie's avatar

In this day and age it would be very difficult. It is expected births are recorded now. Some of our elderly people who grew up and worked on farms don’t have “proper” documentation to prove citizenship. There might be records of their baptism, if the church is still around and if they were baptized, and they might have bills from utility companies going back for many years. If they worked they most likely acquired a social security number at some point, but if they never worked they might never have. The person in your story would not have anything though, no record at all. I assume they would be issued some sort of temporary status while their existance is investigated. They would have to be finger printed I assume.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

They look away and allow them to hold a job and drive anyway.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You stand in front of the nearest Home Despot or hang out by Vito’s Roofing and Demolition.

ragingloli's avatar

You call yourself Barack Obama and then become president.

ETpro's avatar

There are numerous very real cases of such people running into hellacious challenges with the new photo-id requirements. Most are elderly people who were born at a time when the poor and those in farming communities routinely gave birth at home instead of in a hospital. They were born here in the USA and have been voting in elections in some cases since the advent of the Great Depression, but if Republican vote rigging laws were allowed to be applied immediately before a presidential election, these senior citizens would have been denied the right to vote. At their age, unable to drive, they would have found the travel, expense and hassle necessary to get the newly required documents an unapproachable barrier to voting.

Bear in mind these are some of the very people these laws were intended to remove form the registered voter list for purely partisan purposes, as this clip proves. As a demographic, they don’t vote the “right” way. The same rationale applied to students being excluded form using their student ID even if it had a photo one it, whereas gun owners could use a firearm license with no photo and that would be just fine. I am glad that, at least till Republicans can stack the courts in their favor, these laws have largely been put on hold or struck down. They are one more nail in the coffin lid of American democracy.

Pazza's avatar

@ragingloli – lol they’re all thinking it….
? you call yourself Barack Obama ?
Sounds like your suggesting he used to be called something else and changed his name?

I’m with zenvelo’s middle bit. Stay off the grid. Learn to farm, or go live with the pixies in south America and eat the local shrubs.

ragingloli's avatar

@Pazza
I am mocking birthers.

YARNLADY's avatar

No parents around? A DNA test would show you are related to someone, and perhaps they could provide some information. The backstory would be easy to verify, and someone would probably be able to do the research.

Symbeline's avatar

Hm, I denno. But isn’t the government good at classification? Especially if you owe money? But say you’re this homeless guy who hasn’t had papers for 13 years, and then you get arrested for stealing something; they probably have a way to deal with this and keep ’‘records’’, even if the thief has no ID at all with him.
So if you have no papers at all and come out of some wasteland and want to live the American dream, you can probably manage. I think society always needs more people, so if you’re willing to do some of the footwork to get a birth certificate, it’s probably pretty possible. Hell some people come from other countries, are never registered as American or Canadian citizens and still make more money than I do. XD

Also wut, you been watching Chernobyl Diaries or something? :p

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’ve personally never known anyone with this problem, that I am aware of. But after reading about the problems cited here on this string, I can tell you that in some of these cases it is easier to paper a new identity in this country (even after all the devices set up since 9–11) than it is to do it legitimately, simply by mining the dead. If I needed to work and eat, I would have no qualms about setting up a new identity if given no other choice. I consider it an inalienable right and to hell with all obstacles.

Pandora's avatar

Hopefully you have some dated coins you can sell and make money and then buy someone else identity. They make it seem so easy on tv all the time.

wundayatta's avatar

The person would apply to the government for the appropriate paperwork, and would then have to jump through a number of hoops to get the papers. I don’t know what kind of investigations would be involved, but I’m sure something could be done. There are lawyers whose practices are made up of helping people get papers. If you had enough money, it would probably be a lot easier than if you are poor.

AshlynM's avatar

This is my best guess, but I’d try the courthouse or office of vital records and explain the situation. If they can’t help you they would probably point you to someone who could. I’m also guessing that once you have your birth certificate, getting the rest of your documents would be easy, since some of them require a birth certificate or something to prove you’re a citizen of your country.

bewailknot's avatar

What an interesting thing in this day and age. My father was born at home and his birth was not recorded at the time. When he wanted to join the army he had to provide an affidavit from a neighbor who swore they remembered his birth. I hate to think how difficult this would be to do now.

Pazza's avatar

They’d throw them in a concentration camp and then send them to the gas chamber!!

Wait, no, sorry, wrong era…..

I meant, they’d send them to a FEMA camp, and then on to Git-mo…..

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