Search by Social Security Number (SSN)
You can search more accurately through federal, state and county court data as well as public records if you have a social security number (SSN). Social Security Number is a unique identification number for each individual for United States, therefore, permitting a very accurate search result. Social Security Searches are the most accurate because every individual in United States has a unique SSN number associated with them and all the files which are filed under a social security number must be associated with that person. True that sometimes there are mistakes such as in the case of credit reports which are also SSN based files you can find inaccuracies however at least at most time SSN searches and results are more accurate specially for those who have common names. Most public record data can get very confusing for common names, things get mixed up the worse scenario is for marriage and divorce records. If you search for marriage records specially for a common named person you will probably get a lot of results this is due to the fact that most marriage and divorce records are name based searches and if they were associated with the SSN numbers then they would be unique and you would get very accurate results.
What is a Social Security Number?
A Social Security number is required in order to get a job, collect SSN benefits and other forms of identity verification such as drivers licencse, health insurance, credit, mortgages, taxes and bank accounts. However, you don't need to show your Social Security card memorizing the number in most cases is enough. You should keep your card in a safe place and do not carry on yourself.
How do I get a Social Security number and card?
To apply for a Social Security number you need to complete an application Form SS-5 and provide either original or certified copies:
- U.S. citizenship or immigration status
You may mail or turn it the documents in person at your local Social Security office.
Citizenship or immigration status: For proof of U.S. citizenship only certain documents are acceptable such as your U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship. In case you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be asked to show your U.S. immigration papers such as:
- Your form I-551
- or Form I-94
- Any work permit you have been provided by the Department of Homeland Security (I-766 or I-688B).
International students may be required to provide more documentation.
Age: You may show your age through your birth certificate or passport.
Identity: For the purposed of identification you may use your passport or drivers license or no driving id when provided by U.S. government. In case you do not have any of these documents you might be able to provide the following:
- Employee ID card
- School ID card
- Health insurance card
- U.S. military ID card
- Adoption documents
- A life insurance policy
- Marriage certificates
You should provide original documents or only notarized or officially certified copies, regular copies will not be accepted. You may use the same document for different requirements such as a passport might prove your age and citizenship. Usually your card will be mailed to you after all the information is verified.
What is the cost of obtaining a SSN number and card?
No, there is no fee for obtaining a Social Security number and the card.
Are there different types of cards?
There are three types of Social Security cards
1. The first type includes your name and SSN and allows you to work in U.S. without any restriction and it is issued for:
- U.S. citizens
- Permanent Residents
2. The second type includes your name and number but it also contains a note stating, "VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION." this card is for people who are lawfully admitted to the U.S. but on a temporary basis who are allowedc to work by DHS.
3. The third type includes your name and number but states, "NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT." this card is for people who are from other countries and are not allowed to work in U.S. such as:
- Those lawfully admitted to U.S. but not allowed to work who might require the SSN number for other reasons
- Those who need to receive government benefits.
How do I get my child a Social Security number?
You should get a SSN number for you child when he or she is born. When you apply for your baby's birth certificate you should also apply for the Social Security Card.
The government agency providing the birth certificate can forward the information to the SSN office or you can apply directly. It is easier to do it at the same time if not you will have to show documents about age and citizenship, etc. and if the child is over 12 then he or she will be required to attend the interview.
An adopted child can also receive a social security number even when the documents are still in the process. This is really useful for tax purposes.
What if my name changed?
Some people change their names due to marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, in these cases you shoul inform Social Security offices so they can correct your SSN card. Also inform your employers if you do not take these steps then there could be a::
- Delay your tax refund
- You wages might not correctly reflect on your Social Security record, which could cause a reduction in your SSN benefits
To change your name on your SSN card you should provide documents such as :
- Marriage document
- Divorce documents;
- A certificate of Naturalizatio
- The court order with the name change
How do I make sure my records are accurate?
When you are employed your employer will send a copy of your W-2 to Social Security this is how your benefits are recorded. It is very important to ensure that this infomraiton is correct. You can also request to receive a copy of your benefits each year based on your name and social security number.
What if my immigration status or citizenship changed?
When your immigration status changes then you should inform the SSN office so your card can be replaced with your current status and information, you will be requied to show documentation from immigration to show any change in status.
What if my card is lost or stolen?
You may request a replacement car free of charge 3 times per year and 10 times per lifetime for both yourself and your children.
In order to get a replacement card, you need to provide:
- An Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
- Provide documents to show your identity
- Proof of U.S. citizenship
- Or proof of lawful immigration status.
How can I protect my Social Security number?
Your SSN number does not change and is your unique identification number used in many important life events such as major financial transactions and credit reporting. You should safeguard your card and number carefully and not to provide it to unauthorized individuals.
Giving your social security number is voluntary and when you are asked then you should be provided with the following
- Why your number is needed
- How they will use your number
- What happens in case you don't provide the number
- Which part of the law requires the disclosure