Social Security Number is a nine-digit number issued an individual by the Social Security Administration, which is an independent agency of the United States government. This number is given to U.S. Citizens, permanent residents and also to the temporary (working) residents. Though this number is basically issued to keep a track of the individuals for Social Security purposes, but over the years it has become a national identification number for individuals in the country for taxation and other financial purposes.
The Social Security Numbers were first issued in 1935 as a part of the New Deal Social Security Program started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the Great Depression. It was originally sought to track individual’s accounts in the Social Security program. But today it has one to be used as an identifier for individuals in the country. Interestingly, Social Security Cards which were printed during January 1946 to January 1972, had expressly written on them that, not for identification, message, but it has been in use for identification purposes and the message was thus removed.
People who do not have a SSN find it difficult to engage in financial activities such as applying to open a bank account or applying to get a loan from the banks.
Although the card on which SSN is printed cannot be used for individual identification as there is no photograph, no birth date, no physical description of the person. So, for these purposes documents like a driving license should be used.
The SSN is a number arrange in this manner AAA-GG-SSSS. This number is divided into three parts. The first part is assigned by the geographical region from the card is issued. The middle part consists of group numbers ranging from 01to 99 in odd and even numbers.
The last part consists of four digits which are serial numbers in numerical sequence of digits ranging from 0001 to 9999.
The Social Security Administration on a general level does not reuse SSNs. Till now, 450million numbers have been issued since 1935, and the Social Security Administration says that it would need to reuse the numbers for several generations.