The Federal Social Security Administration (SSA) accidentally issued one social security number to two people, sparking controversy.
According to NBC report on the 18th, Kim Ji-eun (31) of LA, CA, and Kim Ji-eun (31) of Evanston, Chicago “have the same name. They were born on the same day in South Korea. And they were both assigned the same Social Security number after they emigrated to the United States.”
Over the past five years, the two Kims have suddenly been blocked from bank accounts, suspended credit card use, denied COVID-19 subsidies and suspected identity theft, all due to SSA’s mistake.
The two Kims also claimed that the SSA did not show willingness to correct their mistake.
LA Kim describes her situation as “throwing (an) egg onto the huge rock.” She added, “I’m left with fear about what is in store for me as I have to deal with this terrible aftermath of the Social Security Administration’s mistake in giving one Social Security number to two people.”
In addition, Chicago Kim said, “The SSA will not admit their mistakes,” adding, “My co-worker said this often happens because many Asians have similar names.”
In particular, Chicago Kim received an application for a social security number with the SSA again, but the system recognized the two Kims as one, so she received the same number as before.
The SSA blamed computer errors for this.
In addition, Kim was warned by the SSA not to try to correct the problem.
An SSA employee reportedly told LA Kim that the process of applying for permanent residency, which can take six months to two or three years, could be even longer due to the application for social security numbers.
The SSA has yet to make any official response.
James A. Lewis, vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “When there is a mistake, it’s usually the other way around with one person getting two numbers.”
“Kim” is the most common surname in Korea, and it is pointed out that similar problems may arise in the future.
LA Kim was born in Seoul and got a job as a graphic designer after graduating from a community college in 2012.
In addition, Chicago Kim was born in Anyang and is pursuing a doctorate at Northwestern University in 2017.
The two Kims hope that SSA will issue new social security numbers as soon as possible, as both of their personal information as well as their banking details are currently combined.
Also, LA Kim said, SSA records list her as having four parents — hers and Chicagoland Kim’s. And the agency has, so far, refused to give her a letter confirming there was a snafu so she can get her green card application moving, she said.
BY THE KOREA DAILY DIGITAL EDITOR