Every taxpayer and working person in the U.S. must have a SNN (Social Security Number). This nine digit unique number is issued in the form of a Social Security Card by the SSA (Social Security Administration) after completion of an application form. A social security card is a very important form of identification and your social security number should remain with you for as long as you live in the United States. Government agencies, businesses, and schools use social security numbers to identify individuals on their computer systems.

How Social Security Number Is Helpful

Everyone in the United States needs a social security number for everyday activities like applying for a job, receiving government services, and collecting social security benefits. Many other transactions with banks, businesses, and credit companies will also require a social security number. Most organizations will ask to be shown a social security card before transacting any business with you.

A 9-digit number on a social security card is divided into 3 parts. The first 3 numbers indicate the state where the applicant is resident at the time of applying for their first social security card. The next 2 digits have no significance and merely serve as a break in the block of numbers. The last 4 digits represent assigned numbers in a straight numerical progression.

3 Different Types of Social Security Cards

1. The first card has been issued to citizens of the United States since 1935. Issued by the Social Security Administration to United States citizens and permanently resident aliens, it contains the owner’s name and social security number that allows the person to work in the U.S. without restriction.

2. The second type of card bearing the legend “Not Valid For Employment” is issued by the Social Security Administration to persons without USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) work authorization, but who have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. and need a social security number required by state, local, or federal law to obtain services or benefits.

3. The third type of social security card was issued in 1992 bearing the legend “Valid For Work Only With DHS Authorization” and issued to persons who have been admitted to the U.S. on a temporary basis with USCIS authorization. USCIS is an agency operating within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Social Security Number/Card Application Process

If someone is authorized to work in the United States they should apply for a social security card immediately by completing the correct application form.

If you want to apply for a SSN, or need to replace a stolen or lost SSC, or need a new card to show your new name, you should apply to your local Social Security Office by filing an SS-5 Form. Forms are available online, at the Social Security Office, or by telephoning to have the form sent to you. U.S. citizens older than 18 years who have never been assigned a social security number before have to apply in person.

Follow the instructions carefully and provide the required original supporting documents. You can either mail the application or deliver it personally. If you need a social security number but have not been authorized to work in the United States, you will be required to provide a letter from the government agency requiring a social security number from you on letterhead stationery. This letter must cite the law that requires you to have a SSN, specifically identifying you as the applicant, and indicating that all the requirements of the agency have been met except for the required social security number.

If you have been assigned a social security number for non-work purposes, you are not allowed to use it to work. If you do, the Social Security Administration is obliged to inform the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or you can also apply here to get SS number online.