Social Security Number - SSN

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DEFINITION of 'Social Security Number - SSN'

A nine-digit number assigned to citizens, some temporary residents and permanent residents in order to track their income and determine benefit entitlements. The Social Security number was created in 1936 and while the original intention was just to track earnings and benefits, it is now also used to identify individuals and sometimes track their credit record.

BREAKING DOWN 'Social Security Number - SSN'

Social Security numbers are now random streams of digits, but prior to 2011, they were not. At that time, the first three digits represented the area in which the individual was born or was from. The next pair of numbers was originally slated to represent a year or month of birth. Because they worried about this being falsified, the Social Security Administration instead voted to have it represent a group number. The final four digits have aways been randomly generated.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. How do I transfer my credit card history from one country to another?

    It is currently not possible to transfer your credit history to another country if you relocate. The credit metrics used ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. When am I not required to submit a social security number on my tax return?

    When filing your tax return, you are generally required to include the social security numbers of yourself and the individuals ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why do brokers ask for personal information before they make any trades?

    According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), there are three main reasons why a broker will ask for personal ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why would someone change their Social Security number?

    In general, the Social Security Administration, or SSA, does not encourage citizens to change their Social Security numbers, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are spousal Social Security benefits taxable?

    Your spousal Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your total household income for the year. About one-third ... Read Full Answer >>
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    Spousal Social Security benefits are retroactive. These benefits are quite complicated, and anyone in this type of situation ... Read Full Answer >>

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