Another Step in Combating Stigma Based on Gender
New social security policy allows for self-selection of gender.
As part of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Equity Action Plan, on October 20, 2022, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Kilolo Kijakazi, announced that SSA will offer individuals the option to self-select their gender on their Social Security Number (SSN) applications and records. SSA is committed to decreasing the burden on those who identify differently from their assigned gender at birth. Acting Commissioner Kijakazi stated, “This new policy allows people to self-select their sex in our records without needing to provide documentation of their sex designation.”
Those who want to update their SSN records will need to apply for a replacement card. (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf) They will still need to prove their identity with current documentation, such as a passport or state-issued driver’s license or identity card. Although the gender field is not used in determining benefit eligibility, SSA is working with other agencies to allow millions of transgender people in the United States to update their most commonly used identification documents.
Unfortunately, the current SSA record system cannot include nonbinary or unspecified gender designation at this time. SSA is exploring options to support an “X” designation in the future.
This new policy began when President Biden signed Executive Order 13988, Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation on January 20, 2021.