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Meaning Of Social Security Numbers

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What Your Social Security Number Means

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What Do The Numbers Mean

Social Security created SSNs in 1936. Back then, computers didn’t yet exist, and Social Security personnel needed a way to quickly sort the vast numbers of applications that arrived at the agency’s office in Baltimore, where the files were organized by region as well as alphabetically. “It was really just a bookkeeping device for our own internal use and was never intended to be anything more than that,” a historical article on the Social Security website explains .

To accomplish that, Social Security officials came up with a complex system of nine-digit SSNs, with three different parts that conveyed different pieces of identifying information. The first set of three digits was the Area Number, and originally represented the state in which a person first applied for a Social Security card. The numbers started in the northeast and moved westward, so that northeasterners had the lowest numbers, and people in the West Coast had the highest ones .

The middle two digits, the Group Number, helped break the applicants in a region into smaller blocks. Instead of being assigned consecutively, all the odd numbers from 01 to 99 were assigned, and then all the even numbers from 10 to 98 were used. Once those had been assigned, even groups 02 through 08 were used, and then odd groups 11 through 99 .

Finally, SSNs were given a four-digit ending sequence called the Serial Number, whose numbers were assigned consecutively from 0001 to 9999 .

Social Security Vs Supplemental Security Income

Sometimes people confuse Social Security and Supplemental Security Income . While both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration, they are intended for different groups of people and are financed in different ways.

Social Security, for example, pays out benefits to individuals, their families, and their survivors based on how long that individual worked without respect to need.

SSI, on the other hand, is needs-based and not based on an individuals work history.

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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:

What Does The Social Security Number Mean

Identifying Fraudulent Social Security Documents: A Tool For Law ...

Verified 28 January 2021 – Legal and Administrative Information Directorate

The social security number corresponds to the registration number in the National Identification Register of Natural Persons .

It consists of the 13-digit registration number and a 2-digit control key.

The NIR, created from civil status, is composed as follows:

  • Gender (1to number
  • Order number to distinguish persons born at the same place during the same period .

These figures are managed by INSEE.

If you were born abroad, the 2 digits of the department’s code are replaced by 99 and the common code is replaced by an Insee code of the country of birth.

If you were born in Algeria before 3 July 1962 or in Morocco or Tunisia before 1964, code 99 can be replaced by 91, 92, 93 or 94 for Algeria, 95 for Morocco and 96 for Tunisia.

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What Should You Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen

Identity thieves are everywhere. Contact the Social Security Administration if you suspect that your number is stolen. The agency can help fix problems related to income. If you have problems with your credit, you must contact your financial institution and the credit reporting agencies . You can also file complaints with IdentityTheft.gov, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Internet Crime Center to report any suspicious activity.

Enhancing The Social Security Card

In addition to developing verification systems to allow authorized users to determine if SSN information matches SSA data, SSA has also taken steps to help guard against fraudulent Social Security cards. Because an SSN is needed for work and has been adopted for many other uses, a market for counterfeit Social Security cards has developed.

SSA has taken and continues to take steps to strengthen the integrity of the Social Security card and guard against its misuse. One of the first steps was to distinguish whether cards were valid for work purposes. In 1974, SSA began assigning SSNs for nonwork purposes when such use of an SSN was authorized by law. Initially, the nonwork cards looked the same as cards issued to citizens and aliens authorized to work. In May 1982, SSA began annotating cards issued for nonwork purposes with the legend “not valid for employment.”

In 1988, to prevent photocopy counterfeits, a security feature that displays as “void” when photocopied was added. Also in 1988, legislation increased the monetary penalties for SSN violations. In September 1992, SSA began to annotate Social Security cards for aliens with temporary work authorization “valid for work only with INS authorization.”

In September 1997, SSA published its findings in the Report to Congress on Options for Enhancing the Social Security Card. The seven options that SSA developed included:

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What Does My Social Security Number Mean

Most people know their Social Security number and what it is used for. However, not many know what their SSN means. If you received your SSN before 2011, your SSN is not just a random combination of numbers. Each set of numbers has a specific meaning, and your individual SSN was generated based on several different factors. An SSN is made up of nine digits, divided by into sets by hyphens. The first set is made up of three numbers called the area numbers. While the second set, consisting of two digits, are the group numbers. The final four numbers are the serial numbers. Well show you what each set represents and what the numbers in your Social Security number mean.

What do the area numbers in my Social Security number mean?

Originally, the first three numbers of an SSN indicated which state the individual applied for their card in. The numbers started off low on the eastern side of the country and grew as you moved westward. So, those on the east coast had the lowest numbers, while people on the west coast received the highest. However, in 1972, the Social Security Administration began assigning area numbers based on the ZIP code of the applications mailing address. Since most parents apply for a Social Security card for their children soon after they are born, your area number most likely represents the state you were born in.

What do the group numbers in my Social Security number mean?

What is the meaning of my SSNs serial numbers?

Social Security Area Code Number Chart

What Does Your Social Security Number Mean?

You can find a full listing of area codes along with their associated geographic region at www.ssa.gov. Remember that the area codes are not simply limited to the 50 United States. American citizens born in U.S. territories may also request a Social Security number, so the regions must include these locations as well. Here are all the Social Security area codes, along with which region they are associated with.

You might notice that some area numbers are included in more than one region. This means either that the number was transferred from one region to another or that it is used in more than one area.

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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:

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.

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Protect Yourself From Identity Theft And Scams

It is important that you protect your Social Security number as criminals can use this information to pretend to be you . Do not carry your Social Security card or your Social Security number with you. Once you receive your card, memorize your number and store the card in a secure place.

Do not tell others your SSN unless it is absolutely required. You can learn more on our Safety webpage.

What Means By Social Security Number

Are social security numbers recycled? What do the numbers mean?

A social security number is a nine-digit number assigned to individuals in the United States to help identify them. Social Security numbers are issued to every individual in the country as required by law. Every person in the country has a unique social security number for identification purposes, such as employment or tax purposes.

The U.S. government issues the Social Security number, and the Social Security Administration is responsible for verifying your Social Security number and issuing you a card. You can get your Social Security number in many places, but most employers, banks, and government agencies will require proof that you have one before they give you access to their services. The Social Security number is unique and identifies your entire life, so you must protect it.

Social security numbers are intended to protect individuals from being victimized or defrauded. They are the primary source of identifying people, such as in a credit check or when trying to obtain a loan or apply for employment. The SSN is also used to uniquely identify consumers to organizations or businesses such as financial institutions, healthcare providers, schools, employers, federal agencies, and many others that they are registered with.

You dont have to apply for an SSN its automatically generated for all Americans at age 16.

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How Do I Apply For A Social Security Number

Step 1: Be in the U.S. for 10 Days with ‘Active’ Record

If you are in F-1, H-1B or J-1 status, the data that confirms your status and the fact that you are eligible for a Social Security Number has to be accessed on-line by the agent of the Social Security Administration at the time you apply. The data will not travel from the Immigration Service to the SSA database until two conditions apply:

  • You must have been in the U.S. for at least 10 days. It may take up to 10 days after any entry into the U.S. for the SSA system to be updated with your entry information. Note that this applies to any re-entry to the U.S., including returning from a vacation, when you receive a new I-94 entry record/number.
  • If you hold F-1 or J-1 status, you must be “registered” or “validated” in SEVIS. When you first arrive in the U.S. for your new program/job, you must check in with OIA. In most cases, this is accomplished through an online check-in form. When this check-in procedure is completed, we register/ validate your record in SEVIS. This confirms that you have arrived at the University in Chicago. It will take about 3 days for your registration to be updated in the SSA system.As long as you checked in with OIA when you first arrived on your current immigration, your record will be ‘active’ or ‘validated’. You do not need to confirm with OIA unless you have a special circumstance.
  • California Law Limits The Public Display Of Social Security Numbers

    A California law bars organizations from publicly displaying SSNs2. The law prohibits:

    • Printing SSNs on ID cards or badges
    • Printing SSNs on documents mailed to customers, unless the law requires it or the document is a form or application
    • Printing SSNs on postcards or any other mailer where its visible without opening an envelope
    • Avoiding legal requirements by encoding or embedding SSNs in cards or documents, such as using a bar code, chip, or magnetic strip
    • Requiring people to send SSNs over the Internet, unless the connection is secure or the number is encrypted
    • Requiring people to use an SSN to log onto a web site, unless a password is also used
    • The law applies to businesses, government, and other entities.

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    How Social Security Works

    Social Security is financed through a 12.4% tax split among employers and employees self-employed individuals pay the entire 12.4%. This tax money is deposited into the two Social Security trust funds: the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund.

    The Social Security Administration pays current benefits and administrative costs out of these trust funds. Unused money is left in the trust funds and invested in Treasury bonds.

    Obtain Proof Of Employment Eligibility

    What is a Social Security Number?

    To be eligible for an SSN, you must provide proof of employment to the Social Security Administration. You must have this documentation in hand before you apply for an SSN. The type of proof varies with the type of work authorization you have:

  • Academic Training : You will need to go through the AT approval process to get AT authorization printed on your DS-2019. In addition to the AT on your DS-2019, you will need a letter from OIA. This letter can be requested from OIA here.
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    Application Process For Immigrants Getting Social Security Number

    • You should go to the nearest Social Security Administration office.
    • Fill up an application, i.e., Form SS-5, which is for getting a social security number card.
    • Show your original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency to prove your immigration status. This should also include a work permit as issued by the Department of Homeland Security, your passport, and your identity card.
    • You will receive your social security number in 2-3 weeks via mail on your residence address.

    Note: If you have the H1B visa, that means that you are an immigrant to the United States and not a citizen. Hence, to get your social security number, you will be asked for the following papers by the Social Security:

    • I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport, or,
    • Work permit card from the Department of Homeland Security

    What Is Social Security

    blackCAT / Getty Images

    Social Security is a federal program that issues benefits to retirees who paid into the program during their working years, people unable to work due to a physical or mental condition, spouses and children of beneficiaries, and surviving family members of beneficiaries.

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    What Do I Need To Bring With Me To Apply

    Important Information About Name Consistency

    Your name must be consistent on all of your SSN application documents. The SSA will reject your application if there is any inconsistency. Important inconsistencies to check for include:

    • Name order on immigration documents. Contact an ISSS advisor if there is any inconsistency in the name order on your I-20/DS-2019, visa, or passport.
    • Preferred names. Do not use a preferred name on your SS-5 application form, or on any of the other Additional Materials listed below. Enter your legal name on all documents.

    Standard Documents

    • Passport and visa
    • Most recent I-94
    • I-20**, DS-2019 or I-797 Approval Notice

    *Important tips for completing the OSSNAP:

    • Enter an address where you will stay for at least 3 months. Your SSN card will be sent to that address.
    • Use an address where your name appears on the mailbox. USPS may not deliver a SSN Card to an address that does not have the applicants name listed on the mailbox.
    • Record the OSSNAP application reference number that you receive upon submission. Have this number available when you go to the SSA office with your documents.

    **If your current I-20 was sent to you via email from ISSS, you must print the I-20 and sign and date on page 1 for it to be valid.

    Additional Materials

  • J-1 Scholars: J-1 scholars with University of Minnesota listed in Item 2 of their DS-2019 must submit the standard documents listed in Step 1 above. No additional letters are required.
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