How to Find My Social Security Number?
A Social Security Number is an important nine-digit method of identification that is used for various purposes in the United States. It is very important to know your SSN as you will likely be required to provide it in certain cases. Like with other information about ourselves, many people tend to forget their social security number, which can lead to problems.
If you forgot your SSN, there are ways to retrieve it online and use the number whenever you need it. If you do not know how to do so, here is the guide on how to find your social security number easily.
What is a Social Security Number?
Many young Americans are not quite sure what is an SSN and why they need it; if you are one of them, it is time to find out what is a Social Security Number and why you need it:
A Social Security Number is a number that contains nine digits and is issued by the Social Security Administration. An SSN is issued for United States citizens, temporary (working) residents, and permanent residents as part of the Social Security Act.
Social security numbers were first issued by the Social Security Administration in 1935, and their purpose of the nine-digit numbers was to keep track of the population in the country. Over the years, the main purpose of the social security number has shifted from a tracking tool to a means of national identification for taxation purposes and other purposes.
To obtain an SSN, one must apply an SS-5 form (Application for a Social Security Number Card).
As of 2020, there are three types of Social Security cards that are issued by the Social Security Administration:
- A social security card with the name and number of the individual – the most common card (issued for U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents).
- not valid for employment social security card – a restricted card that is not acceptable as a List C document on the I-9 form and it cannot be used as proof of work authorization.
- valid for work only with DHS authorization – another type of restricted social security card that is issued for individuals who have obtained a temporary work authorization in the U.S. The valid for work only with DHS authorization social security cards, if accompanied by a work authorization card, can satisfy the I-9 requirement.
How to Find My Social Security Number?
There are several services that provide SSN retrieval options for a fee. If you want to get your social security number back for free, you can use the online Social Security Administration service that allows individuals to find their Social Security Numbers without charging them.
To get your original SSN, you need the following documents as proof of citizenship, age, and identity. All documents must be original or certified by the issuing authority:
1. Proof of Citizenship
2. U.S. passport
3. U.S. birth certificate
Proof of Age
If you do not have a birth certificate as proof of age, you can submit the following documents as a replacement:
- U.S. hospital record of birth
- A religious record made before the age of 5 that shows the date of birth
- U.S. passport
Individuals who are 12 or older have to appear in person for their interview if they are requesting an original SSN. If a social security number has never been issued, you need the following to prove that the SSN was never issued:
Individuals who lived outside the US for an extended period of time – previous or current passport
- School records
- Employment records
- Other records that prove long-term residence outside the United States.
Individuals who have lived in the United States and do have an SSN can also apply for one. Those who wish to get an original Social Security Number will be interviewed to ascertain that they are indeed US citizens.
Such individuals can also be required to provide proof, such as tax records, that shows they have never been assigned with an SSN.
Proof of Identity
The Social Security Administration may also require additional documents as proof of identity. Such documents must be up to date and contain identity information (such as date birth), the name of the individual, and a fairly recent photograph.
Additional proof of identity includes:
- A state-issued non-driver identification card or;
- U.S. driver's license or;
- U.S. passport
Individuals who do not have these records and cannot replace them within 10 days can provide other proof of identification:
- School identification card;
- U.S. military identification card
- Health insurance card (not a Medicare card)
- Employee identification card;
After you get the necessary documents required for getting your SSN, you will need to print and fill out THIS Social Security Number application.
Once you have the necessary documents and you have filled out the form in full, you will need to send all the papers to your local Social Security Administration office. You can track down the office on the link HERE. Simply enter your zip code into the search field, and you will get the address of the administration closest to you.
What Else Should You Know About SSN?
Aside from not having an SSN, there are several scenarios that can happen to you, and here is what you need to do in each of those cases:
You remember your SSN but you do not have your social security card
If you remember your SSN but you lost your card, you should be fine and you will probably not need to replace it. Foreign financial institutions (FFIs) are not required to see your social security card, under FATCA regulations. However, if for some reason, you are required to provide your social security card, you can apply for a free replacement card with the Social Security Administration. The new card will be provided to you by the FBU with a letter stating that you requested a new SSN card.
You had a social security number but you cannot remember the number
If you have a social security number but you cannot remember what it is, you can request to get it with the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) that serves your region. When contacting the FBU, they can only tell you if an SSN was issued to your name, however, they cannot provide to you via mail or phone. To get back your social security number, you will need to apply for a replacement card through the post by filling out the appropriate form.
How should I apply for a replacement SSN card?
If you lost your SSN card and need a replacement card, or if you need to change the data on an existing card, follow these steps:
- Fill out the application and follow instructions in THIS link
- Sign and write the date on the application
You will need to provide one of the following as proof of identity when applying for a new SSN card. Those who are US citizens but were born outside the country, you will also need to provide proof of citizenship:
- An original, current, and signed US passport
- A current and original Permanent Resident Alien Card (green card)
- A current and original foreign passport. This must be accompanied by proof of US citizenship, such as a US birth certificate or Naturalization certificate.
After applying for an SSN or an SSN card, you will have to wait to get it; the processing time for SSN applications varied depending on the Office of Vital Statistics response time (it is the authority that maintains original birth certificates).
Getting a social security number entitles you to benefits and it is important for tax purposes. If you have lost your social security card, have never been issued with a social security number, or you cannot remember your number, you can get it from the Social Security Administration. To find a Social Security Number, make sure you have all the necessary documents and paperwork to avoid problems.