Victory! Social Security Eases Requirements to Change Gender Marker

Social Security Administration

June 17, 2013 - Last Friday, the Social Security Administration released a new policy that eases the requirements to change one’s gender in Social Security records. TLDEF hails the change as a major victory and thanks the Social Security Administration for creating a more inclusive policy.

The new policy allows a transgender person to update the sex field in his or her Social Security records by providing an updated passport, a birth certificate, a court order, or a letter from a physician that indicates that the individual has received appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. Surgery is no longer a requirement to update the field.

In changing its policy to a more inclusive one, the Social Security Administration is following the lead of the U.S. State Department and the Veterans Health Administration, which made similar policy changes in the last three years.

The Social Security Administration also released updated guidelines for interviewing transgender people, mandating confidentiality, appropriate pronoun usage, and respect.

“The importance of having government documents that match who you are could not be greater,” said TLDEF’s executive director Michael Silverman. “This necessary shift in policy eases a burden for transgender people in the United States. The old policy was outdated and onerous, and we are thrilled that the Social Security Administration has recognized the need for change.”

TLDEF applauds the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce for their work with SSA on this issue.