What Does Your Social Security Number Mean? Find Out Here

(MENAFN- ValueWalk) Your nine-digit Social Security number is your true identity, which stays with you from birth to death. Moreover, it is your identity for government records. Have you ever wondered what those nine digits mean, how the Social Security Administration (SSA) generates those numbers, or what your Social Security number says about you? If you have, then you are not alone.

In this article, we will explore the history of your Social Security number (SSN) and what your Social Security number says about you.

Social Security number – how was it born?

After the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935, the SSA wanted an efficient way to track the earnings of each citizen, and this led to the creation of the Social Security number. More than 450 million Social Security numbers have been issued so far, according to the SSA .

Your Social Security number is needed almost everywhere, including schools, banks, tax filings, student loan forms, driver's license application, doctor's office paperwork, student loan forms and more. So, your Social Security number can reveal all about you, including your credit history, health conditions, and places you've lived.

The above information on you will be available to anyone if they have your Social Security number and the right software. On the other hand, your nine-digit Social Security number can also reveal some information about you.

June 2011 – why is this date important?

All Social Security numbers issued prior to June 2011 were made up of three components. However, the SSA changed its methodology of generating Social Security numbers after June 2011.

According to the SSA, the change – called randomization – was required to protect the integrity of the SSN, and to ensure the longevity of the nine-digit SSN nationwide. The SSA argues that randomization makes it difficult for identity thieves to fake someone's SSN using publicly available information.

This means that SSNs issued after June 2011 likely carry no relatable information of the holder. On the other hand, if your SSN was issued prior to June 2011, it could reveal a bit about you.

What your Social Security number says about you

As noted above, SSNs issued before June 2011 were comprised of three components. These are:

Area number

The first three digits of your Social Security number represent your area number. Originally, the area number indicated the location of the SSA office that issued that particular SSN. The area number didn't tell the area of the holder, but rather the issuing offices.

For example, area numbers 001 to 003 were for New Hampshire and 575 to 576 for Hawaii. Such numbering meant that the SSNs of people on the East Coast were the lowest, while those on the West Coast tended to have the highest SSNs

This arrangement changed in 1972 when the SSA started issuing SSNs centrally from its Baltimore headquarters. So, after 1972, the first three digits indicated the applicants' mailing address, i.e., zip code. The area number, however, doesn't necessarily have to be a mailing address as you can have mail sent to any location.

Nevertheless, the concept of area number changed in 2011 when SSA adopted randomization, meaning it would not correlate with any location.

Group number

Ranging from 01 to 99, the next two digits after the area number represent the group number. It has nothing to do with your location; rather, the objective is to make administration easier for the SSA. Basically, the group number allowed SSNs with the same area number to be broken into smaller pairings.

When assigning the group number, the SSA first assigns odd numbers from 01 to 09, then even numbers from 10 through 98. After this, the SSA issues even numbers between 02 and 08, and then odd group numbers from 11 through 99.

It basically helps in determining the age of a person in relation to the person of another group. For instance, someone with Group Number 01
will be older than the person with Group Number is 99.

Serial number

It is the last four digits of your Social Security number, and similar to the group number, it has no correlation with the owner's location. Serial numbers range from 0001 to 9999 and are consecutively assigned within each group number.

You now know that your Social Security number doesn't really say much about you. Even the area number (first three digits) of your SSN can't be used to accurately pinpoint your location.

Can you request a randomized SSN?

If your SSN was issued before June 2011 and you want a new randomized SSN, you can contact the SSA for that. Before you apply, it is important for you to know that the SSA assigns only one SSN to an individual and uses that SSN to track that individual's earnings to determine future benefits.

Under special circumstances, however, the SSA may issue you a new SSN, such as:

  • Sequential numbers issued to family members are resulting in issues.
  • The same number is allotted to more than one person.
  • Original numbers or some digits of the number are against individuals' religious or cultural beliefs.
  • If you are the victim of identity theft and continue to face issues from using your original SSN.
  • If you are a victim of harassment or abuse, including domestic violence.
Social Security number – what it doesn't tell

Though you can get almost all information about a person by their SSN, one detail that isn't tied to an SSN is criminal records. So, relying only on SSNs to check a person's criminal background may not give accurate results.

A skilled background screener, however, can use information, such as former addresses and names, from SSNs to search criminal records databases.



Legal Disclaimer:
MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.