(plural social security numbers)
- (US) A nine-digit number issued to citizens, permanent residents, and temporary (working) residents under section 205(c)(2) of the Social Security Act, codified as 42 U.S.C. Â§ 405(c)(2). The number is issued to an individual by the Social Security Administration, an agency of the U.S. Federal Government. Its primary purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes. Abbreviated as SSN. In recent years the SSN has become a de facto national identification number.
- A corresponding number in other countries.
social security number - Computer Definition
From the beginning of the Social Security program in the United States in 1935 until the 1970s, the U.S. government issued Social Security numbers (SSNs) to applicants based on their stated identifying information. The government, however, did not ask for evidence verifying that the information given was indeed correct or legitimate. With an increased use of SSNs by both the government and private sectors, the SSN has become a target of greater abuse, particularly in cases of identity theft. Because of the U.S. government’s increased concerns about illegal aliens working in the United States, SSN identity fraud, and the potential abuse of public entitlement programs, in 2003 Congress legislated “evidence requirements”—such as rigorous verification of birth certificates or immigration documentation—for SSN issuing and for the replacement of already issued SSN cards. Even the procedures have been made more rigorous for assigning SSNs to U.S.-born persons aged 12 and older.
See Also: Identity Theft or Masquerading.
SSA Policy Site. RM 00203.001 Evidence Required for an SSN Card. [Online, October 8, 2003.] SSA Policy Site. http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0100203001.