The nine-digit Social Security number has been used since 1936 to track a person’s wages for the purpose of accruing benefits within the Social Security Administration. Since it’s inception, the SSN has become the unique identifier for a wide range of business processes. For example, the SSN is required for parents to claim their children as dependents for federal income tax purposes; the International Revenue Service requires all employers to obtain SSNs (or alternative identifying numbers) from their employees; the Navy and Marine Corps use the SSN on all military ID cards; and the SSN is used to access a variety of information technology system applications.
• More than 420 million SSNs have been issued.
• The SSN is not reassigned after the number holder’s death.
• The current numbering system will provide enough new numbers for several future generations.
• Approximately 5.5 million newer numbers are assigned each year.
By Steve Muck