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Social Security Number
Each individual in Unites States, is required to be registered with US government by law. The way we have registration in India through Ration Card it is Social Security here.
This number is very useful for the government as well as the for the individual. Government can keep track of the individual from this particular number. You will need the SS number for any official paper work or dealings e.g. while filling Tax forms or while opening a bank account, getting US passport, buying savings bonds, get medical insurance or while getting a membership in the public library. A person's entire credit history can be traced from this number. As soon as one arrives in US he/she is required to get Social Security number immediately. It is a very simple procedure.
Therefore, it is very important for you to apply for baby's social security number as soon as possible.
It is best to apply for baby's social security number at the time of birth in the hospital. You will be given a form for applying for social security number, along with other forms such as form for birth certificate etc. You can fill that form and hand it over to appropriate hospital person and they will take care of it. You would receive a social security card in the mail.
Instead, if you prefer to apply for baby's social security card on your own later, you can follow the procedure as follows:
Social Security Number is given by Social Security Administration. Every town or a city has a Social Security Office. You can find out about the nearest Social Security office by visiting their web site or by calling their toll-free number 1-800-772-1213.
You have to fill out form SS-5. SS5 is a fillable form. You can simply fill it online and print it. No need to write by hand. You will also have to show the identity and citizenship of your child (birth certificate) as well as your identify (such as your passport.)
Form will ask you for your local postal address details besides other information. The officer will check your application form and other relevant documents. After checking everything you will be informed when you will be receiving your Social Security Number, which will be by postal mail. Please note that there is no charge to apply for Social Security Card.
Generally within 2 to 3 weeks time you will receive your social security number which appears printed on a small card, which you should carry/preserve safely. In spite of care, if you loose it, you can replace it at nearest social security office at no charge.
Meaning of each digit in SSN
The nine-digit Social Security number is divided into three parts.
The first three digits of the SSN are the area number. For numbers assigned prior to 1973, it indicates the specific Social Security office from which the card was issued. Since 1973, certain blocks of numbers have been allocated to each State. The area number indicates the State the number holder showed as his/her mailing address on the application for a number. The State is derived from the ZIP code in the mailing address. The middle two digits are the group number and have no geographical significance. They just break the SSN into conveniently sized blocks for use in internal operations and order of issuance. The last four digits are the serial number representing a straight numerical series of numbers from 0001-9999 within each group
Social Secuirty Number's are not reassigned when people die. Benefits may be payable to dependents and survivors or the SSN holder long after the SSN holder dies. The Social Secuirty Number is used to administer the payment of these benefits.The current 9-digit number provides almost 1 billion SSNs. Roughly 392 million SSNs have been issued since 1936 through 1993, leaving almost two-thirds remaining for assignment. More than five million new numbers are assigned each year. Since fiscal year 1993, over 16 million Social Security cards were issued. Of this amount, approximately 6 million were original cards and 10 million were replacement cards.