What is a Social Security Number (SSN)

Modified on Thu, 12 Oct 2023 at 04:17 AM

A Social Security Number (SSN) is issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to identify an individual person, such as a US Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Temporary Nonimmigrant Worker.

Initially, the SSN was used as a way to keep track of earnings for those who worked jobs covered by the Social Security program.

However, after Executive Order 9397 was signed on November 22nd, 1943, the SSN began being used by federal agencies as a way to keep accurate records for individuals. They realized nearly 70 million Americans already have this number, so making them more widespread was convenient and effective.

As computers became more powerful in the 1960s and more legislation was passed, the SSN became somewhat of a “national identification number.”

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