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State Assignment Of Social Security Numbers

Assignment of Social Security Numbers

Posted on: May 21st, 2013

Who can apply for a Social Security number?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) gives cards to individuals who are U.S. citizens or non-citizens who are lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence, or who have permission from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) record to work in the United States, such as refugees, asylees, work visa holders and citizens of Compact of Free Association countries.

What is a “valid nonwork purpose”?

Previously, the SSA issued social security numbers for some “valid nonwork purposes”, such as obtaining a driver’s license.  Under updated regulations, a “valid nonwork purpose” under Sec. 422.104 will be those instances when a Federal statute or regulation requires an alien to have an SSN in order to receive a federally-funded benefit to which the alien has otherwise established entitlement, or when a State or local law requires an alien who is legally in the U.S. to have an SSN in order to receive general public assistance benefits to which the alien has otherwise established entitlement.  Therefore, the SSA will no longer assign an SSN to an alien for any nonwork purpose other than to receive Federal, State, or local benefits as described in Sec. 422.104.

The Social Security Administration responded to concerns about individuals not being able to get a SSN in order to obtain a driver’s license by saying that this will no longer be “valid nonwork reason”.  The SSN decided to change its policy because fraud and misuse regarding SSNs for nonwork purposes has been almost exclusively in relation to SSNs issue for driver licensing.  In addition, many states have altered their requirements to not require a Social Security card in order to obtain the license.

What are the requirements for applicants under 18?

Previously, a child under age seven did not have to provide any evidence of identity and any child under the age of 18 was not required to do an in-person interview.  However, the new rules eliminate the waiver of evidence of identity for children under age 7 who are applying for an original SSN card.  Also, an in-person interview will be required of all individuals age 12 or older who are applying for an original SSN.  The goal of this early interview age is to prevent obtaining social security cards through fraudulent means.  The SSA also reasoned that children need social security numbers at an early age in order to receive benefits and to be reported on income tax returns.  However, the agency decided to set the threshold age at 12 because they felt that requiring the presence of younger children at in-person interviews would be overly burdensome on the children and unproductive for the SSA.

In addition, evidence of identity must contain sufficient biographical or physical information to identify the individual.   The SSA determined that birth certificates would not be sufficient to establish identity due to problems with fraudulent documentation.  The applicant will need evidence such as a medical record or a school record in order to establish identity.

How can an immigrant apply for a Social Security number while applying for an immigrant visa?

Non-citizens applying to enter the United States can apply for a Social Security as part of the immigrant visa application. In order to do this, the applicant must be 18 or older when they enter the United States and must be a lawfully admitted permanent resident. When filling out Form DS-230, the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, the applicant must answer “yes” to questions 33a and 33b. Question 33a simply states that the applicant wants the Social Security Administration to assign a Social Security number and issue a card. Question 33b authorizes disclosure of Form DS-230 to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Social Security Administration, and any other government agencies that may be needed in order to get a Social Security number.

According to the Social Security Administration, once the applicant arrives in the U.S., a Social Security card should arrive at their mailing address in about three weeks. If the applicant changes their mailing address after arriving but prior to receiving their card, they must call the Social Security Administration.


What if the immigrant does not meet the requirements to apply for a SSN while applying for a visa, or the immigrant simply failed to do so?

If the applicant did not request a Social Security number as part of the visa application or the applicant did but was under age 18, he or she must apply for a card at a Social Security office. When the applicant has a permanent address, he or she can go to the nearest SSA office. The applicant can go to the SSA website to find an office at or can call Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (Eastern time).

When the applicant visits the Social Security office to apply for a Social Security card, he or she should take the following original documents for each family member applying for a number:

  1. The passport or travel document
  2. Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), if he or she has received it
  3. Birth record
  4. I-94, Arrival/Departure Record

When the applicant arrives at the SSA office, he or she should complete the SS-5, or Application for a Social Security Card.  In addition, all documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency.  Photocopies and notarized copies of documents are not acceptable.

Someone at the office will help the applicant complete the application. The applicant should then receive the card in about two weeks after the SSA has everything that it needs to process the application. However, if the SSA has to verify any document with the issuing agency, it may take longer to receive the card.

The applicant was issued a card that says “not valid for employment” when they first applied, but now the Department of Homeland Security has given them work permission. What should they do?

If the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted the applicant permission to work, the applicant needs to apply for a replacement card without the legend “Not Valid for Employment”. The replacement card will have the same number as the current card.

To apply for a replacement card, he or she needs to complete Form SS-5, which is available for download at The applicant may get a Form SS-5 by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visiting the local Social Security office. The applicant must submit Form SS-5 with evidence of identity and current authorization to work from the DHS. All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. The SSA cannot accept photocopies of documents.

If the applicant is a non-citizen, the SSA must verify the documents with the DHS before issuing a replacement SSN card. The SSA will issue the card within two days of receiving verification from DHS.

How much does a Social Security card cost?

The Social Security Administration does not charge a fee to assign a Social Security number or issue a Social Security card. The SSA will replace the card for free if the card is lost.

Does the applicant need to have a Social Security number before starting work?

There is no federal law administered by any federal agency that prohibits the hiring of a person based solely on the fact that the person does not have a SSN. Similarly, there is no federal law that prohibits the making of a payment to a person based solely on the fact that the person does not have an SSN.

However, there are federal laws and regulations that require the reporting of a payee’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), which can be either the SSN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), on federal information returns and payee statements such as forms W-2, 1099, 1042-S, etc.

What potential problems might I face on the job without a Social Security Number?

In a situation in which an alien is work-authorized under the immigration law and is eligible to request an SSN but is experiencing delays in securing a SSN caused by delays with the SSA, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) unfortunately will not issue an ITIN.

With respect to this issue, the fact that the payor does not have a payee TIN to report because the SSA is delaying an issuance of an SSN due to the agency’s procedures will likely cause the IRS to be more favorable toward considering this situation one in which reasonable cause exists for not asserting penalties.  The payor should keep documentation to show that his failure to supply a payee TIN is caused solely by the SSA’s procedures for issuing SSNs to aliens.

The following two points are important to remember, however:

  • A Form W-4 submitted to an employer that does not report the employee’s SSN is an invalid form W-4, and the employer is required to withhold on the employee’s wages at the rates corresponding to single filing status, zero personal exemptions allowed.  Withholding at these rates must continue until the employee submits a proper Form W-4 reporting his SSN.
  • Any withholding agent (with certain exceptions) who receives a Form 8233, W-8BEN, or W-9 without a payee TIN for the purpose of claiming a tax treaty benefit is not allowed to grant such tax treaty benefit until he receives a proper Form 8233, W-8BEN, or W-9 which does report the payee’s TIN.  However, a form 8233 or W-8BEN without a payee TIN is still valid for the purpose of declaring that the payee is a foreign person, subject to the withholding and reporting rules that apply to payments made to foreign persons.


Do foreign students who are studying in the U.S. have to have a Social Security number?

Foreign students who are temporarily studying in the United States do not have to have a Social Security number. Schools are not authorized to use the SSN in administering educational programs, so when the student does not have an SSN or prefers not to provide his/her SSN, the school assigns the student an internal number. A school policy to require an SSN to enroll in school or college is not a valid non-work reason to assign an SSN to an individual who does not otherwise meet SSA’s requirements for an SSN. Note that an SSN is needed to engage in employment on campus.

If a foreign student works in the U.S. does he or she have to pay Social Security?

Work performed by some non-resident aliens who visit the United States for a limited period of time is not covered by Social Security and, therefore, not subject to Social Security taxes. F-1, J-1 and M-1 visa holders working in connection to their studies or for the purpose of their visit to the U.S. are not covered by Social Security. This means that there will be no withholding of Social Security or Medicare taxes from the pay received for these services. These types of services are very limited, and generally include only on-campus work, practical training, and economic hardship employment. For more information on taxation, visit the Internal Revenue Service at

How can I contact the Social Security Administration?

In the United States, call the telephone number listed for the Social Security office in the local telephone directory under “United States Government” or Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. To locate an office or for more information on Social Security numbers, go to the Social Security Administration’s homepage: If you need to contact SSA before you leave for the United States, the SSA is assisted outside the United States by United States embassies and consulates throughout the world.

How Are Social Security Numbers Assigned?

The purpose of this article is to help you understand how Social Security Numbers are assigned. The Social Security Administration (SSA) changed the way Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are assigned on June 25, 2011. This change is referred to as “randomization.” The Social Security Administration (SSA) developed this new method to help protect the integrity of the SSN. SSN Randomization will also extend the longevity of the nine-digit SSN nationwide.

Overview of Social Security Numbers

In the United States, a Social Security number (commonly known as SSN) is a number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and people that are temporarily working in the country. The number is issued to an individual by the SSA, an agency of the federal government. Its primary purpose is tracking working individuals for taxation purposes and to track Social Security benefits. Since it was initially introduced, the SSN has become the primary national identification number, even though it was not originally intended to be used as a form of identification.


Since 1972, social security numbers have been issued by the central office of the  Social Security Administration. The first three (3) digits of a person’s social security number are determined by the ZIP Code of the mailing address shown on the application for a social security number.

Prior to 1972, social security numbers were assigned by SSA field offices. The number merely established that his/her card was issued by one of the SSA offices in that State.


In 2011, the SSA changed assignment process to a process known as SSN randomization. This process eliminates the geographical significance of the first three digits of the number.

Social Security Number – Area Group Serial

The Social Security number consists of nine (9) digits, usually written in the format – 1 2 3 – 4 5 – 6 7 8 9. The first three digits of a social security number denote the area (or State) where the application for an original Social Security number was filed.

Within each area, the group number (middle two (2) digits) range from 01 to 99 but are not assigned in consecutive order. For administrative reasons, group numbers issued first consist of the ODD numbers from 01 through 09 and then EVEN numbers from 10 through 98, within each area number allocated to a State. After all numbers in group 98 of a particular area have been issued, the EVEN Groups 02 through 08 are used, followed by ODD Groups 11 through 99.

Within each group, the serial numbers (last four (4) digits) run consecutively from 0001 through 9999.

This chart below shows how Group numbers are assigned:

  • ODD – 01, 03, 05, 07, 09——EVEN – 10 to 98<
  • EVEN – 02, 04, 06, 08——ODD – 11 to 99

List of Social Security Numbers for Each State

Follow is a list of social security numbers for each state. The listing is organized in ascending order based on the SSN prefix, with the corresponding issuing state listed.

SSN Prefix = Issuing State

001-003 = New Hampshire
004-007 = Maine
008-009 = Vermont
010-034 = Massachusetts
035-039 = Rhode Island
040-049 = Connecticut
050-134 = New York
135-158 = New Jersey
159-211 = Pennsylvania
212-220 = Maryland
211-222 = Delaware
223-231 = Virginia
232 = North Carolina
232 = West Virginia
233-236 = West Virginia
237-246 = North Carolina
247-251 = South Carolina
252-260 = Georgia
261-267 = Florida (Also 589-595)
268-302 = Ohio
303-317 = Indiana
318-361 = Illinois
362-386 = Michigan
387-399 = Wisconsin
400-407 = Kentucky
408-415 = Tennessee
416-424 = Alabama
425-428 = Mississippi
429-432 = Arkansas
433-439 = Louisiana
440-448 =Oklahoma
449-467 = Texas
468-477 = Minnesota
478-485 = Iowa
486-500 = Missouri
501-502 = North Dakota
503-504 = South Dakota
505-508 = Nebraska
509-515 = Kansas
516-517 = Montana
518-519 = Idaho
520 = Wyoming
521-524 = Colorado
525 = New Mexico
526 = Arizona
526 = New Mexico
527 = Arizona
528-529 = Utah
530 = Nevada
531-539 = Washington
540-544 = Oregon
545-573 = California
574 = Alaska
575-576 = Hawaii
577-579 = District of Columbia
580 = Virgin Islands
580-584 = Puerto Rico
585 = New Mexico
586 = Guam & American Samoa
586 = All Other Pacific Territories
587-588 = Mississippi
589-595 = Florida (also 261-267)
600-601 = Arizona (designated)
602-626 = California (designated)
700-728 = Railroad Retirement
729-999 = Currently not in use

Please post a comment below if you are aware of any new number ranges.

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SSN Requirements

There is no law directly requiring a natural born United States citizen to apply for a Social Security number, or SSN, to live or work in the United States. Although some people still live without a Social Security number, it is becoming ever increasingly difficult to engage in normal acts of commerce or banking activities without providing an SSN. As a result, such prohibitions against persons that refuse to enter into what amounts to a voluntary government program, raises a variety of constitutional concerns.

Additional Resources

Below are several other related resources worth checking out:

  • Find your local Social Security Office – If you live in the United States and you want information and directions to the Social Security office that serves your area, just enter your U.S. Postal Service five-digit ZIP code on the form and select Locate. As a result, you’ll get information about your local Social Security office and other agencies in your area that may be able to help you.
  • Social Security Administration – In addition to the information summarized on this page, the SSA website provides more information on numbers and cards, why you need one, how to apply for a new, replacement or corrected card, and other free services.
  • Social Security Number Validator – Use this site to determine if a # is valid.

For more information on Randomization, please visit