MR #11.14: Birth Certificates from Puerto Rico

MR #11.14: Birth Certificates from Puerto Rico

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an informational bulletin dated 9/20/10 instructing states to require a valid birth certificate for persons born in Puerto Rico if they are requesting medical benefits for the first time after 10/31/10.  In an effort to reduce fraud involving Puerto Rican birth records, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico passed a law (191 of 2009) that limits the issuance and use of certified birth certificates.  Puerto Rican birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010 are no longer valid. 

Although the new law prohibits the person identified in a Puerto Rican birth certificate from 'transferring custody' of the certified copy to any person or entity that requests it, they may show their birth certifcate to a caseworker for the purpose of making a photocopy for the person's case record. 

Do not require a person to mail the Puerto Rican certified copy of their birth certificate because this is a violation of Puerto Rican law.  However, if the person chooses to mail the certified copy of their Puerto Rican birth certificate, make a copy of the birth certificate for the file and return the certified copy as soon as possible.

A valid birth certificate can be used to establish U.S. citizenship and age. It can also be used to establish relationship for TANF.

Note:  This change does not affect the following persons:

  • Applicants who received medical benefits previously and have a Puerto Rican Birth certificate issued prior to 7/1/10 in the case record;
  • Applicants who applied for medical benefits prior to 11/1/10; or
  • Recipients who are currently receiving medical benefits.