Rebecca Lanier, who just turned 119, claims to be the oldest living person in the world–and the government has verified her age to be so. However, the Guinness World Records refuses to recognize her status without a birth certificate.
Lanier was born in 1892 to slaves, during a time when African-Americans were not always issued birth certificates due to racial inequality. Even with this knowledge of African-American history in mind, Guinness World Records is still adamant about having printed proof.
“It’s quite a rigorous process that you go through because the birth certificate is a crucial matter,” a Guinness World Records spokesman told MailOnline.
The Social Security Administration has issued a letter to Lanier that states that her birth year is 1892. However, a spokesman from the department claims that in order for age to be verified it must be backed up by other official documents such as citizenship or birth certificates.
Lanier has outlived two daughters and a grandson. She has several great-grandchildren.