OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Benjamin Curtis was born in a Tulsa hospital in 2020.
While the family has since moved out of state, in an interview with KFOR, his aunt said they have since been unable to get a birth certificate for him though they were told it would take just two days to receive it once requested.
Two days turned into more days, then months.
Now without it, she says he might as well not exist.
“I tried taking all the paperwork from the hospital when he was born [to] the Social Security office to get a Social Security card, and they turned us down when they found out we didn’t have an actual birth certificate,” Gretchen Cobb said.
“They just looked at us and said, ‘Can’t help you’.”
“I was stunned,” she added.
However, without a birth certificate they also can’t get a Social Security card.
Without a Social Security card, they can’t get access to services like vaccinations, insurance, or basic medical care for Benjamin.
“No doctor will take him [and] physically evaluate him from head to toe [without the birth certificate],” she added.
“His vaccinations…we can’t even get those.”
There’s also no treatment for a looming medical diagnosis; the family believes the boy has autism.
“He’s having trouble walking and he doesn’t communicate well at all. He says words repetitively over and over,” Gretchen added.
“He needs a doctor in the worst way.”
In an email to KFOR, officials from the Oklahoma State Health Department said while the agency cannot speak to individual cases, their processing times for birth registration are up to date:
“Birth registration is and has been current. Requests for changes on recent births – e.g. paternities, adoptions, corrections – may take up to eight weeks. We encourage parents to review the information at the hospital to make sure it is correct before it’s submitted and to complete all the required forms, to avoid the need for changes later. information required by law.”Oklahoma State Health Department
OSDH said their Vital Records Office registers 460 birth and death certificates per day, on average.
Officials said orders placed online or by phone that do not require follow-up are typically processed within two business days while records requiring additional information could take longer.
In a 2022 statement to the station, a representative said the agency was working to reduce backlogs as quickly as possible.
While the department indicated that a request was made to contact the family directly for follow-up, they could not confirm when the family can expect to hear from a representative.
The family has considered hiring a lawyer to help cut through the red tape, but said that consideration is currently cost prohibitive.
“Wait for a response. That’s all [we] can do,” said Gretchen.