I Need to Bring My Social Security Card to My Bankruptcy Hearing, What If I Cannot Find It?
When you file for bankruptcy you are required to attend a hearing called the meeting of creditors. For an overview of what to expect at your meeting of creditors, see my article entitled, “What to Do at Your Meeting of Creditors.” Your meeting of creditors is controlled by a Trustee appointed by the Bankruptcy Court to administer your case. The first thing your Trustee will ask is to see your driver license and social security card. I am often asked what happens if you cannot find your social security card.
At my very first consultation with you I ask if you know where your social security card is. The responses I get vary considerably. One person will pull the social security card right out of their wallet or purse. Another person will say they do not have the card on them but know exactly where they keep it. Some people say they are pretty sure where it is but will have to look around their home. Still others say they have no idea where their social security card is.
If I hear anything other than I know right where it is, my recommendation is as follows: As soon as possible look around your home for your social security card. If you cannot locate the card in the course of one evening’s search, order a replacement through the Social Security Administration immediately. You can go online at www.ssa.gov/locator to find the Social Security Administration office nearest to you, as well as the phone number, office hours, and information about online services available.
Order a replacement social security card as soon as you can, because it can take up to 60 days for you to receive the replacement card. You want to move as quickly as you can because you have your meeting of creditors about 30 days or so after you file for bankruptcy. At your meeting of creditors, if you cannot show your Trustee both your driver license and your social security card, he or she will not hold the meeting.
A W-2 or a 1099 with your full social security number can sometimes be used at your meeting of creditors as a substitute for your social security card, but that is not universally the case. For example,
some Trustees only accept a W-2 or a 1099 if it is an original from your employer. I have seen cases where a person’s employer does not issue a physical original W-2 but rather the employee must go online and print out their W-2. Some Trustees do not accept the print-out of the W-2 because they do not consider it an “original.” So unless you absolutely have to file for bankruptcy fast and you know your meeting of creditors will happen before you can get your replacement card, try to avoid having to use your W-2 or 1099 if you can help it.
The above information is a general overview and is not intended to be used as legal advice. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, the best thing to do is call our office at 248-557-3645 and schedule a free consultation so you can receive advice which is tailored to your specific circumstances.
By: Michael Benkstein, Esq.
Managing Attorney, Bankruptcy Department
The Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz, PLLC