What is a Social Security number?
In 1936, the Social Security number (SSN) was created. Its purpose was to track the earnings histories of workers in the United States in order to compute Social Security benefit and entitlement levels. Now, the SSN has grown in use to become the most commonly used numbering system in the nation. The SSN is assigned to individuals at birth and allows government agencies to identify and track information regarding financial records of individuals in the United States. It is required for getting a job, receiving Social Security benefits, and more.
How to Apply for a Social Security Card
In order to apply for a social security card, you will need to gather some original documents to prove your U.S. citizenship, age, and identity. The government only accepts certain documents as proof of these. To prove your citizenship, you must present your U.S. birth certificate or a U.S. passport. A birth certificate is also needed for proof of identity, but if one does not exist, you may be able to submit a religious record made before the age of five that shows your date of birth, a U.S. hospital record of your birth, or your U.S. passport.
If you are of the age of 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number, you will have to appear in person at your Social Security office. You can find your local office based on zip code here. You will be asked to provide evidence that shows you do not currently have a Social Security number. Examples of documents you can use to prove this include: records that show long-term residence outside of the United States such as current or previous passports, school records, and employment records; or, if you have lived in the United States, any information about schools you have attended or copies of tax records that might show you were never given a Social Security number.
You will also be required to present documents proving your identity; these will need to be current, meaning not expired, and show your legal name, your age or date of birth, and, if possible, a recent photograph. Examples of this type of document include a U.S. driver’s license, a State-issued non-driver identification card, and a U.S. passport.
If you do not have any of these specific documents and cannot get one of them within ten days, you need to submit other documents. Those documents must be current and show your name, age or date of birth, and preferably a recent photograph. Acceptable documents might be employee identification cards, school identification cards, health insurance cards (not Medicare cards), or U.S. military identification cards. One document may be used for two purposes, but at least two separate documents must be provided.