Thursday, December 1, 2022

Meaning Of Social Security Number

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When Applying For A Federal Loan

What Does Your Social Security Number Mean?

The government will use your Social Security number to make sure youre eligible when you apply for a federal loan, such as a federal student loan. For example, to qualify for federal student loans, you must not be in default on another federal loan, you must have eligible citizenship or visitor status, and most male applicants must have registered with the Selective Service.

When To Not Use Your Social Security Number

While the USA federal law does allow anyone to ask you for your social security number, it does not mean that you have to share it each time.

Social security number is such vital and sensitive information related to you that you should share it as infrequently as possible. In fact, when asked for your social security number, it is important to remember that they might not always need it, and if it is not needed, then you should not share it.

For example, though medical providers will ask for your social security number, you can leave it blank when filling out the medical paperwork. Most often, this would not be questioned by them as the doctor’s office and other such businesses can use your other information to identify you and keep track of your records. However, this also brings the possibility that with your refusal to provide your social security number, the opposite party can refuse to do business with you.

It is easy for your social security number to be misused, and it is therefore important that you take all measures to ensure that does not happen. One of those measures involves not carrying your social security number card around with you until and unless you require it for a specific purpose on a certain day.

Your social security number card, however, will be mandatory for reporting your income to the IRS and social security administration, making it mandatory for your employer to have your social security card number.

Why You Need A Ssn

A Social Security number is very important to have due to its direct connection to the future benefits you may be entitled to receive from the U.S. government.

An SSN is used to track an individual’s yearly earnings and the number of years they’ve worked. These figures are required to compute potential financial benefits, whether they relate to retirement income, disability income, or health insurance.

When people start their working careers, employers request their Social Security numbers as part of the application process. They provide the Internal Revenue Service with details of salary payments associated with each SSN and the withholdings made for employees’ contributions to Social Security and Medicare. Employers also report this information to any state that has an income tax.

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Your Social Security Number Is The Key

Originally, your Social Security number was a way for the government to track your earnings and pay you retirement benefits. But over the years, it has become much more than that. It is the key to a lot of your personal information. With your name and SSN, an identity thief could open new credit and bank accounts, rent an apartment, or even get a job.

Obtaining A Social Security Number

Anatomy of a Social Security Number

The Social Security Administration assigns nine-digit Social Security numbers to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and eligible nonimmigrant workers in the United States. SSA uses SSNs to report wages to the government, track Social Security benefits and for other identification purposes. Every F and M student who U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services grants employment authorization to needs an SSN.

Please note: If an F or M student is ineligible to receive an SSN, but receives non-wage income while in the United States , they must apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number . For more information, please visit our What is an ITIN? resource page.

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What Is A Social Security Number

It seems everyone asks for your Social Security number these days. So, what is it? An SSN is a unique identifier issued by the Social Security Administration .

The number was originally a way for the government to keep track of your earnings and the money you paid into the Social Security program. But now, you can use it in a variety of ways:

  • Get a drivers license

Most people receive an SSN when theyre born. If you dont have one, you can ask the SSA to issue one to you. The SSA can also give you a replacement card if yours was lost or damaged.

Social Security Number Format

Most people have their Social Security number memorized, or they at least know where to find their SSN. This number is critical for identification purposes, and you need to have it whenever you attempt to get a loan, open a bank account, or perform many other services. Most people never really think about the structure of the Social Security number itself. You might know that it is nine digits, but do you know why the number is separated the way it is? Also, do you know the significance and meaning of each section of your SSN? If not, keep reading as we give you all the details on the formatting of Social Security numbers.

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When To Avoid Using Your Social Security Number

Federal law basically lets anyone ask for your Social Security number, but that doesnt mean you need to give it out. You should use your Social Security number as infrequently as possible. Just because someone asks for it doesnt mean they truly need it.

For example, though most medical providers will ask for your SSN, you can leave the line asking for it blank when filling out medical paperwork, and often, no one will question it. Your doctors office and other businesses can use other information to identify you and keep track of your records. That said, while you can refuse to provide your SSN, the other party can also refuse to do business with you.

You also shouldnt carry your Social Security card around with you unless you will be using it for a specific purpose that day, such as when youre filling out paperwork to start a new job, and you have to show it to your employer as proof of citizenship .

You dont want to risk losing your card or having it stolen since thieves can use this number, in combination with your other personal data, to apply for credit, take out loans, get a job, or even get health care in your name, creating a potentially massive identity theft problem for you to clean up.

Instead, keep the card in a secure place at home or in a safe deposit box at the bank. If your card is lost or stolen, youll want to apply for a new one.

Structure Of The Social Security Number Cards

What Your Social Security Number Means

The structure of the social security number cards is in the format of a nine-digit number as: AAA-GG-SSSS. Here, A stands for area number as formerly they were assigned by geographical region, the G stands for group number, and the final four digits S stands for serial number.

The Social Security Administration changed the SSN assignment process to SSN randomization on June 25, 2011. This affected the SSN assignment process as follows:

  • The geographical significance of the first three digits of the SSN referred to as the area number, was eliminated as the first three digits of the social security number were no longer assigned as by the individuals resident state or by the location of their companys headquarters.
  • The SSN randomization also eliminates the significance of the highest group number assigned for each area number. This thus means that the High Group List is frozen in time and can be used for the validation of only those SSNs that were issued before SSN randomization was implemented.
  • Through SSN randomization, previously unassigned area numbers have been introduced for assignment. This is, however, excluding the numbers 000, 666, and 900-999. This thus means that after the implementation of SSN randomization, the assignment of area numbers between 734 and 749 and above 772 through the 800s became valid.

However, there have been some cases where multiple individuals have been mistakenly assigned the same social security number.

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Your Guide To What Social Security Numbers Mean

If youve ever applied for a job, loan, or credit card, youve probably been asked for your Social Security number. In many ways, your Social Security number is as much a part of you as your date of birthit follows you from birth to death and can serve as a key to your sensitive information.

Its clear that having one is vital because its used in various ways. You probably even know the number by heart. But have you ever wondered what Social Security numbers mean?

In this guide, discover what a Social Security number is, how to decode the numbers, if theyre reused, and what your number says about you.

How Social Security Numbers Work

With very few exceptions, all U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary or working residents have a Social Security number. Even non-working residents can obtain an SSN, due to its use by businesses and government entities.

The legal framework for assigning a Social Security number is provided under Section 205 of the Social Security Act . Social Security numbers and cards are issued by the Social Security Administration .

Social Security numbers are now random streams of digits. However, prior to 2011, the numbers had specific purposes. In those years, the first three digits represented the area in which the individual was born or was from. The next pair of numbers was originally slated to represent a year or month of birth.

Due to concern that this could be falsified, the Social Security Administration instead voted to have it represent a group number. Thus far, no Social Security Numbers have been reused, though there have been some cases in which two people were issued the same number.

Scammers are everywhere, so it’s important that you keep your information safe and secure. You can avoid scams and report them directly to authorities through the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

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Ssn Denial Letter Instructions

The U.S. Government restricts the issuance of new SSNs to F-1 students who are employed. If you are not currently eligible for an SSN, and are hoping to apply for a MA State ID, you will instead need to apply for an SSN denial notice.

Students who are NOT eligible for an SSN must go in person to your local Social Security Administration office to request the SSN denial notice. You may find office locations on the SSA website.

Documents required for F-1 students who are NOT eligible for SSN:

Applying For A Federal Loan

Ssn Usa Social Security Number Template in Ssn Card Template

When you are applying for a federal loan, like a federal student loan, the government will use your social security number to ensure that you are eligible for it.

For example, if you want to be eligible for a federal student loan, then you must not have defaulted another federal loan, have eligible citizenship or visitor status, and most male applicants must have registered with the Selective Service.

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Obtain A Receipt Wait For Your Ssn Card

Anyone applying for a Social Security Number will receive a “receipt,” consisting of a form letter confirming that you have submitted an application. There are three different versions of this receipt, depending on circumstances:

  • Your application is accepted and will take 10-14 days
  • Your application is under processing and may take 1-3 months for review
  • Your application has been rejected

If you got a receipt notice you are eligible to begin work. Show a copy of your receipt notice to your employer.

For more information, please see the following SSA publications:

Applying For An Ssn Today

Just as it was in 1936, today a person must complete an application to obtain an original or replacement SSN or to change the information in SSA’s Numident records. There are a number of ways to initiate the application process.

The paper form a person completes to apply for an original SSN or a replacement card or to make changes to SSA’s Numident record is still the SS-5. The SS-5 application is available online14 or in any SSA field office. The application and required evidence can be taken or mailed to any Social Security office for processing. An in-person interview is required if the applicant is age 12 or older and is applying for an original SSN. The Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Manila also accepts SS-5 applications for an original SSN or a replacement card, as do all U.S. Foreign Service posts and all military posts outside the United States. SSA employees key the SS-5 application data and evidence into the SSA computer system, which uses the information to create or update the Numident. The signed SS-5 application is retained for a short period in the field office, and then is sent to a records center in Pennsylvania for microfilming. Once microfilmed, the original SS-5 is destroyed.15

The information currently requested on the SS-5 is:

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Social Security Number Allocations


On June 25, 2011, Social Security changed the SSN assignment process. The information below explains how weestablished and issued SSNs prior to the new SSN assignment process. We continue to provide it strictly forhistorical and informational purposes. Please see SSN Randomization for moreinformation on Social Security’s new assignment process and how it may affect you.

Since 1973, social security numbers have been issued by our central office. The first three digits of a person’ssocial security number are determined by the ZIP Code of the mailing address shown on the application for a socialsecurity number. Prior to 1973, social security numbers were assigned by our field offices. The number merelyestablished that his/her card was issued by one of our offices in that State.See also High Group List of SSN’s.

The chart below shows the first 3 digits of the social security numbers assigned throughout the United States and its possessions. The same area,when shown more than once, means that certain numbers have been transferred from one State to another, or that an area has been divided for useamong certain geographic locations.

SSN Area Number

Registering The Nation’s Employers And Employees

What is a Social Security Number?

Although issuing SSNs is still a large workload for SSA, one rarely thinks about the major undertaking it was to register workers for the first SSNs. Initial estimates were that 22 million SSNs would be issued immediately, with 50 million ultimately to be issued . In fact, 35 million SSNs were issued in the first 8 months of the registration effort. The Social Security Board estimated it would also need to assign identifying numbers to 3.5 million employers during this same time .

Assigning responsibility for the vast registration process was a real problem. Debate shifted back and forth over whether the Board’s Bureau of Old-Age Benefits could handle the work. The Board first approached the USES about assuming the registration workload, but in early May 1936 USES declined because President Roosevelt was hoping for an upswing in industrial production that autumn, and USES wanted its personnel to concentrate on its job placement service. The Census Bureau also declined, citing legal restrictions on the disclosure of its information to other agencies and confidentiality promises to the public that census information would be used for statistical purposes only .

The registration process was largely directed by the local postmasters. The first task for the postmen was to make up lists of employers on their routes. Their effort resulted in a list of 2.4 million employers .

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How To Get A Ssn

A Social Security number and its corresponding card may be obtained by filling out Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Card from the SSA. The form explains how to obtain an original card, replace a card, and change or correct SSN records.

A full list of requirements, such as documentation that proves age, identity, and U.S. citizenship or immigration status, is included on the form. There is no cost to obtain a number or card. In some circumstances, an individual may change their Social Security number.

Designing The Social Security Card

Even at the inception of the program, the Social Security Board understood that individuals would need to have a “token” that would provide a record of the number that had been assigned to them. This token would help employers accurately report an individual’s earnings under the program.

The Board first considered a small card similar to a credit union or trade union card, but some objected that it was too flimsy. Alternatively, a ¾ x 2 inch metal card was proposed by a manufacturer of such cards. It was estimated that it would have taken 250 tons of metal for initial registration. The arguments in favor of the metal card were its permanence, accuracy , and economy . Still, in early June 1936, the Board decided to use a small paper card .

In October 1936, the Social Security Board selected a design submitted by Frederick E. Happel, an artist and photo engraver from Albany, NY, for the original Social Security card, for which Happel was paid $60.5 The Board placed an initial order for 26 million cards. In late 1937, a second version was adopted, and a version just for replacement cards was adopted in 1938 . Since 1976, the design of original and replacement Social Security cards has been the same. In all, over 50 designs have been used from 1936 to 2008. All versions remain valid since it would be cost-prohibitive to replace all cards previously issued.

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