Social security Card

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In the United States, a Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary (working) residents under section 205(c)(2) of the Social Security Act, codified as 42 U.S.C. § 405(c). The number is issued to an individual by the Social Security Administration, an independent agency of the United States government. Although its primary purpose is to track individuals for Social Security purposes, the Social Security number has become a de facto national identification number for taxationand other purposes.

The original purpose of this number was to track individuals’ accounts within the Social Security program. It has since come to be used as an identifier for individuals within the United States, although rare errors occur where duplicates do exist. As numbers are now assigned by the central issuing office of the SSA, it is unlikely that duplication will ever occur again. A few duplications did occur when prenumbered cards were sent out to regional SSA offices and (originally) Post Offices.

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