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Within three months, 25 million numbers were issued. On December 1, 1936, as part of the publicity campaign for the new program, Joseph L.
Fay of the Social Security Administration selected a record from the top of the first stack of 1,000 records and announced that the first Social Security number in history was assigned to John David Sweeney, Jr. During the first year of the Tax Reform Act, this anti-fraud change resulted in seven million fewer minor dependents being claimed. The disappearance of these dependents is believed to have involved either children who never existed or tax deductions improperly claimed by non-custodial parents.
It has since come to be used as an identifier for individuals within the United States, although rare errors occur where duplicates do exist. As numbers are now assigned by the central issuing office of the SSA, it is unlikely that duplication will ever occur again.
A few duplications did occur when prenumbered cards were sent out to regional SSA offices and originally Post Offices. Employee, patient, student, and credit records are sometimes indexed by Social Security number.
Armed Forces has used the Social Security number as an identification number for Army and Air Force personnel since July 1, 1969, the Navy and Marine Corps for their personnel since January 1, 1972, and the Coast Guard for their personnel since October 1, 1974.
However, a social security number is required for parents to claim their children as dependents for federal income tax purposes,  and the Internal Revenue Service requires all corporations to obtain SSNs or alternative identifying numbers from their employees, as described below.
The Old Order Amish have fought to prevent universal Social Security by overturning rules such as a requirement to provide a Social Security number for a hunting license. All it does is confirm that a particular number has been issued to a particular name. Use required for federal tax purposes[ edit ] Internal Revenue Code section 6109 d provides: Any person required under the authority of this title to make a return, statement, or other document shall include in such return, statement, or other document such identifying number as may be prescribed for securing proper identification of such person.
Furnishing number to other persons: Any person with respect to whom a return, statement, or other document is required under the authority of this title to be made by another person or whose identifying number is required to be shown on a return of another person shall furnish to such other person such identifying number as may be prescribed for securing his proper identification.
Treasury regulations, any person who, after October 31, 1962, works as an employee for wages subject to Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, or U.
Such cards are issued to U. There are also two restricted types of Social Security cards: One reads "not valid for employment. The other reads "valid for work only with DHS authorization", or the older, "valid for work only with INS authorization. They can satisfy the I-9 requirement, if they are accompanied by a work authorization card.
Many citizens and privacy advocates are concerned about the disclosure and processing of Social Security numbers. Furthermore, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have demonstrated an algorithm that uses publicly available personal information to reconstruct a given SSN. Financial institutions generally require an SSN to set up bank accounts , credit cards , and loans—partly because they assume that no one except the person it was issued to knows it. Exacerbating the problem of using the social security number as an identifier is the fact that the social security card contains no biometric identifiers of any sort, making it essentially impossible to tell whether a person using a certain SSN truly belongs to someone without relying on other documentation which may itself have been falsely procured through use of the fraudulent SSN.
Congress has proposed federal laws that restrict the use of SSNs for identification and bans their use for a number of commercial purposes—e. Day care services have tax benefits, and even a sole proprietor should give parents an EIN employer identification number to use on their tax return.
The Social Security Administration has suggested that, if asked to provide his or her Social Security number, a citizen should ask which law requires its use. In the event of duplicates having been issued. In cases where the person has been a victim of domestic violence or harassment, and there is a clear need to change their number for their personal safety.
Where a person has a demonstrable religious objection to a number such as certain Christians being averse to the number 666. For all of these conditions, credible third-party evidence such as a restraining order or police report, is required. It eliminates the geographical significance of the first three digits of the SSN, previously referred to as the Area Number, by no longer allocating the Area Numbers for assignment to individuals in specific states.
Previously unassigned area numbers have been introduced for assignment excluding area numbers 000, 666 and 900—999. Historical structure[ edit ] Prior to 2011, the first three digits known as the area number were assigned by geographical region. Prior to 1973, cards were issued in local Social Security offices around the country and the area number represented the office code where the card was issued.
This did not necessarily have to be in the area where the applicant lived, since a person could apply for their card in any Social Security office.
Since 1973, when the SSA began assigning SSNs and issuing cards centrally from Baltimore , the area number assigned has been based on the ZIP code in the mailing address provided on the application for the original Social Security card.
Thus, the area number does not necessarily represent the state of residence of the applicant regardless of whether the card was issued prior to, or after, 1973. Wikipedia has a list of Social Security Area Numbers for each state. Generally, numbers were assigned beginning in the northeast and moving south and westward, so that people on the east coast had the lowest numbers and those on the west coast had the highest numbers.
As the areas assigned to a locality are exhausted, new areas from the pool are assigned, so some states have noncontiguous groups of numbers. The middle two digits are the group number. The group numbers range from 01 to 99. However, they are not assigned in consecutive order. For administrative reasons, group numbers are issued in the following order: As an example, group number 98 is issued before 11. The last four digits are serial numbers.
They represent a straight numerical sequence of digits from 0001 to 9999 within the group. It has issued over 450 million since the start of the program, and at a use rate of about 5. Effective June 25, 2011, the SSA assigns SSNs randomly and allows for the assignment of area numbers between 734 and 749 and above 772 through the 800s.
Numbers with all zeros in any digit group 000- - , -00- , - -0000. Now numbers are assigned randomly, and fraudulent SSNs are not easily detectable with publicly available information. Many online services, however, provide SSN validation.
Unlike many similar numbers, no check digit is included. One famous instance of this occurred in 1938 when the E. Ferree Company in Lockport, New York , decided to promote its product by showing how a Social Security card would fit into its wallets.
Over time, the number that appeared 078-05-1120 has been claimed by a total of over 40,000 people as their own. Hilda Whitcher was issued a new SSN. However, the number was found to be in use by 12 individuals as late as 1977.