Two teenagers born at home don't exist in eyes of government

What do you do when, in the eyes of the government, you don't exist? Through no fault of their own, two Jacksonville teenagers -- American citizens through-and-through -- have been denied Social Security numbers.

We've been following the Hall family's battle for months now, and so far it has been a long and losing one.

But Thursday, they found a glimmer of hope.

"I'm 18 now. Everybody else is driving and I can't put in for college applications like everybody else, getting a real job. I'm stuck," said Charity Hall.

Charity is just days away from graduating from high school.

But her plans to go to college or even get a job aren't possible right now because she can't get a social security number.

"They keep telling us you need this to get this and this to get this and you can't have one without the other. It's very confusing and difficult," Charity said.

Her brother Jireh, 16, is in the same boat.

"Charity's life is paralyzed. So is Jireh's. Jireh can't even get a fishing license because you have to be a U.S. citizen or you have to have a temporary i.d. He's right in the middle. He does not exist. He cannot even go fishing on American soil that my husband was in the military for and that we pay social security to," said mother Brenda.

Brenda gave birth to Charity and Jireh at home and didn't apply for a birth certificate until it was too late. In December a Circuit Court judge finally granted the teens delayed birth certificates showing they were born in Duval County.

"It's gone a little bit from ridiculous to just entirely wrong because everything I worked for with the birth certificates is null and void. They are not acceptable," said Brenda. "They (the delayed birth certificates) are not a year old and because of that they are not acceptable."

She says the Social Security Administration also won't accept her children's school documents as proof of identity because they are from the home school she runs.

"I asked the supervisor if it was other children or if it was not me if they would be acceptable. He said yes they would," said Brenda.

"The point I'm at is I'm wondering is there something underlying? Are they using me as an example not to home school, not to be a Christian-Jewish embracing school that uses Christian curriculum and does not support Common Core openly? It's so ridiculous, there has to be another reason because everything I do, that they ask me to do, is changed," Brenda said.

Thursday Charity and Jireh applied for a passport, but it will take 4 to 6 weeks before they know if they will get one. They are hoping that if they get a passport that will be the key to them proving their age and citizenship and combined with their medical records that will be enough for the government to issue them a social security number.

We asked the Social Security Administration for an on-camera interview. A spokeswoman denied our request, but said the agency would provide us a response. That was 6 days ago and we are still waiting for a response.

"My kids were born here. We've never left. Why am I being questioned why am I being singled out not to mess with the system or not to have a home birth or not to dare try to have a home based private school?" asked Brenda Hall.

Congressman Ander Crenshaw inquired on behalf of the Halls, but sent them a letter advising the SSA subsequent reviews upheld the initial denial of their application for Social Security numbers.


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