Chapter 11: Obtaining Status under the Social Security Program

Nobody Truly is a Citizen or National of the United States

By Seth Maynard

An important determinant of how much tax you owe the government is your status as reported in your Social Security record. Most are unaware that no one is, in fact, a “citizen or national of the United States.” When one applies for a social security number, such as when starting on a new job, one is asked whether he is a citizen or national of the United States, a permanent alien resident, or a nonresident alien authorized to work within a duration of time. Most would naturally think that they are a citizen or national of the United States. Wrong; most people are neither.

You were born here, you might say, and question the validity of the previous statement. Yes, your birth certificate says so – but that does not make you a citizen or national outright either. Well, what does?

People born in the baby boom era who applied for a social security number are deemed as “stateless” or, worse, “alien” if they did not also request for nationality in their application. Everyone else is an “American National”. In United States v. Wong Kim Ark and Perkins v. Elg, a person born in the country becomes a “citizen of the United States”. However, a birth certificate suffices as evidence as to a person’s place of birth but it says nothing regarding federal citizenship.

There is no such thing as a “citizen of the United States”, according to Section 8, Article 1 of the Constitution. A person who is a citizen of any of the member States is, mostly by convenience only, held to be a citizen of the United States. But a non-citizen of any State cannot be a citizen of the United States. It is within the States’ power to naturalize, not the Federal government. Hence, there are really no “citizens of the United States” as there is no federal-only citizen, only State citizens to whom the privileges and protections of the federal law are applied.

The proper status should be “American National”. At the time the constitution was ratified, an “American” was one who was a native of America, as found by the Europeans, or the descendants of Europeans born in America. These are, of course, citizens of their respective States. A “National” is a person attached to his country. As shown in Perkins v, Elg, a person became a citizen of the United States if he was born in the country and he declared his status as being a citizen of the United States.

To see your Social Security application record and to amend it to correct your status, hence, your tax liabilities, you may file a Privacy Act request. As this may end up in your suing the agency and the government when not acted upon by the Social Security Administration, it may be to your best interests to purchase “Boston Tea Party”. This is book by Mike Ioane, contains letters, details and instructions to help ensure that you go through the process properly and finally correct your mistaken status.