How can I find out my American social security number: Generally, a Social Security Number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and some legally working non-immigrants. In order to track Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration issues a number. However, over time, the SSN has come to serve as a de facto national identification number for tax and other purposes. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service forms (USCIS) include this information. Learn how to check your social security number in a few easy steps today.
How Social Security Numbers Work
There are very few exceptions to the rule that every American citizen, permanent resident, and temporary or working resident has a Social Security number. The SSN is useful enough for businesses and government agencies that even non-working residents (citizens or non-citizens alike) can obtain one.
Social Security numbers and cards are issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in accordance with Section 205(c)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S. Code, Chapter 7, Subsection 405).
Social Security numbers are now random streams of digits, whereas they weren’t before 2011. Back then, the first three digits were used to identify the area from which the individual originated. Originally, the next pair of numbers was intended to represent the year or month of birth.
Because there was concern this could be falsified, the Social Security Administration voted to make it represent a group number instead.
The Social Security number was developed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of a program designed to aid the United States following the Great Depression. As part of his efforts to provide Americans with economic security, Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act the same year. The financial benefits included were based on the amount of income they received before they retired.
As part of keeping Social Security Act records up-to-date, the Social Security Board was established. As a result, each individual received a unique nine-digit number. This number can be further broken down into three groups:
- In the first group of numbers, the issuing state was listed, for example, 001 to 003 for New Hampshire and 575 to 576 for Hawaii
- In the second group of numbers, the issuing office was indicated
- While the third group of numbers indicated the order within the group
SSNs were issued randomly in 2011 when the issuing offices underwent changes.
Throughout its history, SSNs have been used in different ways. As early as 1943, federal government agencies were required to use them to identify individuals. Other noteworthy events in the SSN’s history include:
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began using Social Security numbers in 1962 for tax reporting purposes
- The requirement for banks to obtain Social Security numbers from all of their customers as of 1970
- In 1983, you had to provide your social security number to financial institutions to open an interest-bearing account
- The printing of Social Security numbers on driver’s licenses and birth records in 1996; the removal of SSNs from driver’s licenses and birth certificates in 1999
- In 2008, laws requiring Social Security numbers as a means of identifying individuals were repealed.
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Here’s how to get your Social Security number
A Social Security number and card can be obtained by filling out Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Card from the Social Security Administration. An original card can be obtained, a replacement card can be obtained, and the SSN record can be changed or corrected.
The form outlines all the requirements, including proof of age, identity, and citizenship or immigration status. There is no charge for obtaining an ID card or number. Social Security numbers can be changed under certain conditions.
You can find your social security number (SSN) on your social security card. Tax returns, W-2 forms, and bank statements also contain your Social Security number. It can even be found on previously filed USCIS forms. You can usually write “N/A” on USCIS forms if you don’t have an SSN. Non-immigrant visa holders typically do not have Social Security numbers.
You may also be able to obtain your SSN from your employer. Employers generally keep Social Security numbers on file. Request your SSN from your employer.
Apply for a Social Security Number
When you apply for employment authorization, you may also be able to obtain a social security number. Applying for a Social Security number at the same time as filing Form I-765 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is possible. This method is often used by adjustment of status applicants or DACA recipients to apply for an SSN. Find out how to obtain an SSN when you file Form I-765.
Apply for a Social Security Number for Immigrants
With your immigrant visa, apply for an SSN
You may request a Social Security card as part of your visa application. You can request a Social Security number when you file Form DS-230 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration) or Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Electronic Application). Obtaining a Social Security card does not require you to submit a special application or go to a Social Security office.
After you arrive in the United States, you will be given a card from the Social Security Administration with your SSN. The card will be mailed to the same U.S. postal address where your green card will be sent by the Department of Homeland Security. After you arrive in the United States, you should receive your Social Security card within 3 to 4 weeks. You can contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 if you do not receive the card by mail.
Apply for an SSN when filing Form I-765
At the same time you apply for employment authorization, you may be able to apply for a Social Security Number. You can request an SSN at the same time. If you need to file Form I-765 with US Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), you can request an SSN at the same time. The Social Security Number is often requested by adjustment of status applicants or DACA recipients using this method.
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Social Security Numbers and Identity Theft
A Social Security number is often used as a personal identifier and for credit purposes. Social Security numbers contain no biometric information and rely on documentation to prove their validity. As a result, they can be used for identity theft and fraud.
The chief executive officer (CEO) of identity theft prevention service LifeLock used his SSN in advertisements to demonstrate the effectiveness of the service. He is later found to have had his identity stolen multiple times.
Several legislators have proposed separating certain activities from SSN use, such as renting an apartment or obtaining a hunting or fishing license.
Replace a stolen or lost SSN
You can replace your Social Security card if it has been lost, stolen, or destroyed. It is not usually necessary to replace the card if you know your Social Security number. The Social Security Administration website has information on replacing a card.
You can get a replacement or original Social Security card if yours is lost or stolen. You do not have to pay for the card. It is a free service. Generally, non-citizens must complete and print an application for a Social Security card and take their application and supporting documents to their local Social Security office.
Fake Social Security Number
Use the Social Security number you were not issued on USCIS forms until you speak with an immigration attorney if you have multiple SSNs. Never use a false SSN or one that hasn’t yet been issued to you. By using a false SSN (or one that was not provided to you), your application will likely be denied and you may face other more serious penalties.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
What Can Someone Do With Your Social Security Number?
It’s very important to keep your social security number confidential since it’s one of the most important pieces of personal information. Your SSN can be used by someone to impersonate you, obtain credit and open bank accounts, apply for jobs, steal your tax refunds, get medical treatment, and steal your government benefits.
What Should You Do if Your Social Security Number Is Stolen?
Identity thieves are all over. If you suspect your number is stolen, you should contact the Social Security Administration. If you have income-related issues, the agency can assist you. However, if you have credit problems, you should contact your financial institution and the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Any suspicious activity can also be reported to IdentityTheft.gov, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Internet Crime Center.
How Do You Get a New Social Security Number?
The SSA requires you to fill out Form SS-5 and submit two documents to prove your age, identity, and citizenship or immigration status in order to obtain an SSN.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Social Security Number?
After receiving all the necessary information and documentation, the Social Security Administration mails out Social Security cards to individuals. The process can take up to four weeks, especially if the administration is experiencing delays.
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While your Social Security application is being processed in the U.S., you can begin the filing process.
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