Since 1936, SSA has assigned 9-digit numbers used to track earnings and pay benefits.
These numbers have consisted of an area number that corresponds to the state corresponding to the zip code in the applicant’s mailing address. This method of assignment presents two concerns:
- this method imposes limits on the number of SSNs that can be assigned in each state
- an individual’s SSN identifies geographic location
On June 25, 2011, the SSA will put a new method in place for SSN assignment which will randomize SSNs. This will both protect an individual’s privacy by eliminating identification of geographic location and remove limits to the number of SSNs that can be assigned in each state. Randomization will only apply to newly assigned SSNs - current SSN holders will not receive new numbers or cards.
Employers should be aware that SSN Randomization will introduce previously unassigned area numbers (the numbers that previously corresponded to state), but area numbers 000, 666 and 900-999 will still not be used. The middle set of digits (the group number, or 4th and 5th digits) will still not include 00, and the last 4 digits (the serial number) will not contain 0000.
Optimum Solutions still encourages employers to verify all SSNs for new hires, or for your entire employee base if you have not verified numbers in the past. SSA still offers the same verification methods that they have offered in the past. The menu options offered by Optimum Solutions to create verification files will continue to work as they always have. Please consult your year end documentation for details.
Visit SSA.gov for more info about SSN Randomization or email firstname.lastname@example.org If you have any questions.