(a)General. The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a record of the earnings reported for each individual assigned a social security number. The individual's name and social security number identify the record so that the wages or self-employment income reported for or by the individual can be properly posted to the individual's record. Additional procedures concerning social security numbers may be found in Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury regulation 26 CFR 31.6011(b)-2.
(b)Applying for a number—
(1)Form SS-5. An individual needing a social security number may apply for one by filing a signed form SS-5, “Application for A Social Security Number Card,” at any social security office and submitting the required evidence. Upon request, the social security office may distribute a quantity of form SS-5 applications to labor unions, employers, or other representative organizations. An individual outside the United States may apply for a social security number card at the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office, Manila, Philippines, at any U.S. foreign service post, or at a U.S. military post outside the United States. (See§ 422.106 for special procedures for filing applications with other government agencies.) Additionally, a U.S. resident may apply for a social security number for a nonresident dependent when the number is necessary for U.S. tax purposes or some other valid reason, the evidence requirements of § 422.107 are met, and we determine that a personal interview with the dependent is not required. Form SS-5 may be obtained at:
(i) Any local social security office;
(ii) The Social Security Administration, 300 N. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201;
(iii) Offices of District Directors of Internal Revenue;
(iv) U.S. Postal Service offices (except the main office in cities having a social security office);
(v) U.S. Employment Service offices in cities which do not have a social security office;
(vi) The Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office, Manila, Philippines;
(vii) Any U.S. foreign service post; and
(viii) U.S. military posts outside the U.S.
(2)Birth registration document. SSA may enter into an agreement with officials of a State, including, for this purpose, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and New York City, to establish, as part of the official birth registration process, a procedure to assist SSA in assigning social security numbers to newborn children. Where an agreement is in effect, a parent, as part of the official birth registration process, need not complete a form SS-5 and may request that SSA assign a social security number to the newborn child.
(3)Immigration form. SSA may enter into an agreement with the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Homeland Security to assist SSA by collecting enumeration data as part of the immigration process. Where an agreement is in effect, an alien need not complete a Form SS-5 with SSA and may request, through DOS or Department of Homeland Security, as part of the immigration process, that SSA assign a social security number and issue a social security number card to him/her. Requests for SSNs to be assigned via this process will be made on forms provided by DOS and Department of Homeland Security.
(c)How numbers are assigned—
(1)Request on form SS-5. If the applicant has completed a form SS-5, the social security office, the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office, Manila, Philippines, the U.S. foreign service post, or the U.S. military post outside the United States that receives the completed form SS-5 will require the applicant to furnish documentary evidence, as necessary, to assist SSA in establishing the age, U.S. citizenship or alien status, true identity, and previously assigned social security number(s), if any, of the applicant. A personal interview may be required of the applicant. (See § 422.107 for evidence requirements.) After review of the documentary evidence, the completed form SS-5 is forwarded or data from the SS-5 is transmitted to SSA's central office in Baltimore, Md., where the data is electronically screened against SSA's files. If the applicant requests evidence to show that he or she has filed an application for a social security number card, a receipt or equivalent document may be furnished. If the electronic screening or other investigation does not disclose a previously assigned number, SSA's central office assigns a number and issues a social security number card. If investigation discloses a previously assigned number for the applicant, a replacement social security number card is issued.
(2)Request on birth registration document. Where a parent has requested a social security number for a newborn child as part of an official birth registration process described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the State vital statistics office will electronically transmit the request to SSA's central office in Baltimore, MD, along with the child's name, date and place of birth, sex, mother's maiden name, father's name (if shown on the birth registration), address of the mother, and birth certificate number. This birth registration information received by SSA from the State vital statistics office will be used to establish the age, identity, and U.S. citizenship of the newborn child. Using this information, SSA will assign a number to the child and send the social security number card to the child at the mother's address.
(3)Request on immigration document. Where an alien has requested a social security number as part of the immigration process described in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, Department of Homeland Security will electronically transmit to SSA's central office in Baltimore, MD, the data elements collected for immigration purposes, by both Department of Homeland Security and DOS, that SSA needs to assign the alien a social security number along with other data elements as agreed upon by SSA and DOS or Department of Homeland Security. The data elements received by SSA will be used to establish the age, identity, and lawful alien status or authority to work of the alien. Using this data, SSA will assign a social security number to the alien and send the social security number card to him/her at the address the alien provides to DOS or Department of Homeland Security (or to the sponsoring agency of a refugee, if no personal mailing address is available).
(d)Social security number cards. A person who is assigned a social security number will receive a social security number card from SSA within a reasonable time after the number has been assigned. (See § 422.104 regarding the assignment of social security number cards to aliens.) Social security number cards are the property of SSA and must be returned upon request.
(e)Replacement of social security number card—
(1)When we may issue you a replacement card. We may issue you a replacement social security number card, subject to the limitations in paragraph (e)(2) of this section. In all cases, you must complete a Form SS-5 to receive a replacement social security number card. You may obtain a Form SS-5 from any Social Security office or from one of the sources noted in paragraph (b) of this section. For evidence requirements, see § 422.107.
(2)Limits on the number of replacement cards. There are limits on the number of replacement social security number cards we will issue to you. You may receive no more than three replacement social security number cards in a year and ten replacement social security number cards per lifetime. We may allow for reasonable exceptions to these limits on a case-by-case basis in compelling circumstances. We also will consider name changes (i.e., verified legal changes to the first name and/or surname) and changes in alien status which result in a necessary change to a restrictive legend on the SSN card (see paragraph (e)(3) of this section) to be compelling circumstances, and will not include either of these changes when determining the yearly or lifetime limits. We may grant an exception if you provide evidence establishing that you would experience significant hardship if the card were not issued. An example of significant hardship includes, but is not limited to, providing SSA with a referral letter from a governmental social services agency indicating that the social security number card must be shown in order to obtain benefits or services.
(3)Restrictive legend change defined. Based on a person's immigration status, a restrictive legend may appear on the face of an SSN card to indicate that work is either not authorized or that work may be performed only with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorization. This restrictive legend appears on the card above the individual's name and SSN. Individuals without work authorization in the U.S. receive SSN cards showing the restrictive legend, “Not Valid for Employment;” and SSN cards for those individuals who have temporary work authorization in the U.S. show the restrictive legend, “Valid For Work Only With DHS Authorization.” U.S. citizens and individuals who are permanent residents receive SSN cards without a restrictive legend. For the purpose of determining a change in restrictive legend, the individual must have a change in immigration status or citizenship which results in a change to or the removal of a restrictive legend when compared to the prior SSN card data. An SSN card request based upon a change in immigration status or citizenship which does not affect the restrictive legend will count toward the yearly and lifetime limits, as in the case of Permanent Resident Aliens who attain U.S. citizenship.