New York – New legislation passed this week by the state Senate may give new parents a little more breathing space when it comes to registering their newborn for a birth certificate.
State Senator Simcha Felder announced the bill, which was co-sponsored by Senator Pamela Helming and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, on Tuesday. If passed into law, parents would have 15 days after a child’s birth, instead of the current five, to apply for a birth certificate.
Most parents fill out paperwork for their newborn in the hospital but some prefer to wait until they have chosen a name for their baby, particularly in the case of Orthodox Jewish baby boys, who will not be named until they are eight days old.
While parents can apply for a birth certificate in the hospital and add the baby’s name at a later date, it leaves them with the additional burden of having to go back to the hospital before their child’s first birthday to file a corrections form in person. Parents who wait until after their child is a year old to add a name are required to file the corrections form with the Department of Health along with a $40 fee before settling in for a lengthy wait to receive the new corrected birth certificate.
And those parents who choose not to file for a birth certificate before bringing their baby home from the hospital and miss the current five day deadline?
“It requires waiting on line and bringing proof with you,” Felder told VIN News. “It’s not just the bureaucracy; it takes time. No one relishes spending a day at any government office, let alone those who are coming with a newborn.”
Felder said that birth certificate issues such as these are among the top ten complaints received by his office. He admitted that filing for a birth certificate in the hospital and then adding the name at a later date, something he himself had done for several of his own children, isn’t a terrible option, but it is one that is potentially problematic.
“The issue is that very often with people’s lives being busier they sometimes forget things that need to get done,” said Felder. “So if they forget to add on the baby’s name and then they need to apply for food stamps or insurance or social security for their baby, they start getting rejection letters because the baby has no name.”
Because all of the paperwork for a newborn would potentially be held back until the birth certificate is officially filed, the proposed change could create a potential processing delay for hospitals and insurance companies. But according to Felder, the number of parents who have naming issues is fairly inconsequential relative to the number of babies born in New York each year.
“It would create a small cash flow problem,” acknowledged Felder. “It is a minor issue for the insurance companies but would solve a major problem for people who are affected by the problem.”
The bill was unanimously passed by the Senate by a vote of 62-0 and will be voted on by the Assembly, and possibly passed along to Governor Cuomo, during the next legislative session.