The application for a Social Security number (Form SS-5) can sometimes provide important and interesting genealogical information for us. Form SS-5 contains the person's name, date and place of birth, and parents' names that were given when he or she applied for the number. The SS-5 Form may also contain some or all of the following information depending on the year of the original application:
|Employee's First, Middle and Last Name ||(Married women were to provide First Name, Maiden Last Name and Husband's Last Name)|
|Post Office and State||-|
|Employer's Name If Presently Employed||-|
|Age At Last Birthday||-|
|Date of Birth (Month, Day and Year) ||It is noted here that this is subject to later verification.|
|Place of Birth||-|
|Father's Full Name Regardless Of Whether Living or Dead||-|
|Mother's Full Maiden Name Regardless Of Whether Living or Dead||-|
|Sex: Male or Female||-|
|Color: White, Negro or Other ||Applicant was to specify if "Other" was checked|
|Give Date You Became An Employee||-|
|Have You Ever Filled Out A Card Like This Before? ||If yes, the applicant was to provide the place and date where the card was previously completed.|
|Employee's Signature As Usually Written - DO NOT PRINT||-|
The Social Security Administration did not begin keeping records until 1936; therefore, they have no records about people who died before then.
(Note: Information on living persons can not be given without their written consent.)
Records are filed by Social Security numbers (SSNs) rather than by names. If you can provide the person's SSN, the Social Security Administration Office will search the records for any information they might have. You can search for SSN’s on line at: LDS - Social Security Death Index
Without a SSN, you will need to provide the person's full name, date and place of birth, and parents' full names to locate the record.
You will be charged the cost of searching the records even if they are unable to locate any information on the person you are asking about. The fee for searching the records is $27 when the SSN is known and $29 when the number is unknown or is incorrect. The check or money order should be made payable to the Social Security Administration. They will also accept VISA, MasterCard, or Discover. Please include the appropriate credit card number, along with the expiration date of the credit card with your written request.
You may send your request to:
Social Security Administration
OEO FOIA Workgroup
300 N. Green Street
P.O. Box 33022
Baltimore, Maryland 21290-3022
What is the meaning of each segment of the Social Security Number?
The Social Security Number (SSN) is composed of 3 parts, XXX-XX-XXXX, called the Area, Group, and Serial. For the most part, (there are exceptions), the Area is determined by where the individual APPLIED for the SSN (before 1972) or RESIDED at time of application (after 1972). The areas are assigned as follows:
|0 - unused ||318-361 IL ||520 WY |
|001-003 NH ||362-386 MI ||521-524 CO |
|004-007 ME ||387-399 WI ||525 NM |
|008-009 VT ||400-407 KY ||526-527 AZ |
|010-034 MA ||408-415 TN ||528-529 UT |
|035-039 RI ||416-424 AL ||530 NV |
|040-049 CT ||425-428 MS ||531-539 WA |
|050-134 NY ||429-432 AR ||540-544 OR |
|135-158 NJ ||433-439 LA ||545-573 CA |
|159-211 PA ||440-448 OK ||574 AK |
|212-220 MD ||449-467 TX ||575-576 HI |
|221-222 DE ||468-477 MN ||577-579 DC |
|223-231 VA ||478-485 IA ||580 VI Virgin Islands |
|232-236 WV ||486-500 MO ||581-584 PR Puerto Rico |
|237-246 NC ||501-502 ND ||585 NM |
|247-251 SC ||503-504 SD ||586 PI Pacific Islands* |
|252-260 GA ||505-508 NE ||587-588 MS |
|261-267 FL ||509-515 KS ||589-595 FL |
|268-302 OH ||516-517 MT ||596-599 PR Puerto Rico |
|303-317 IN ||518-519 ID ||600-601 AZ |
|-||-||602-626 CA |
|629-699 unassigned, for future use |
|700-728 Railroad workers through 1963, then discontinued |
|729-899 unassigned, for future use |
|900-999 not valid SSNs, but were used for program purposes when state aid to the aged, blind and disabled was converted to a federal program administered by SSA |
|-||-||*Guam, American Samoa |
|-||-||Nothern Mariana Islands |
|-||-||Philippine Islands |
As the Areas assigned to a locality are exhausted, new areas from the pool are assigned. This is why some states have non-contiguous groups of Areas.
The Group portion of the SSN has no meaning other than to determine whether or not a number has been assigned. SSA publishes a list every month of the highest group assigned for each SSN Area.The order of assignment for the Groups is: odd numbers under 10, even numbers over 9, even numbers under 9 except for 00 which is never used, and odd numbers over 10. For example, if the highest group assigned for area 999 is 12, then we know that the number 999-04-1234 is an invalid number because even Groups under 9 have not yet been assigned.
The Serial portion of the SSN has no meaning. The Serial is not assigned in strictly numerical order. The Serial 0000 is never assigned.
Before 1973, Social Security Cards with pre-printed numbers were issued to each local SSA office. The numbers were assigned by the local office. In 1973, SSN assignment was automated and outstanding stocks of pre-printed cards were destroyed. All SSNs are now assigned by computer from headquarters. There are rare cases in which the computer system can be forced to accept a manual assignment such as a person refusing a number with 666 in it.
Information donated by Anita Pugh