Retirement Planning
Social Security
Microsoft Excel

How do they pick the numbers for Social Security numbers?

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2010-12-18 22:17:05

The numbers on your Social Security card actually mean

something!

Area numbers - The first three numbers originally represented

the state in which a person first applied for a Social Security

card. Numbers started in the northeast and moved westward. This

meant that people on the east coast had the lowest numbers and

those on the west coast had the highest. Since 1972, the SSA has

assigned numbers and issued cards based on the ZIP code in the

mailing address provided on the original application form. Since

the applicant's mailing address doesn't have to be the same as his

residence, his area number doesn't necessarily represent the state

in which he resides. For many of us who received our SSNs as

infants, the area number indicates the state we were born in. You

can find out which area numbers go with each state at SSA.gov:

Social Security Number Allocations.

Group numbers - These two middle digits, which range from 01

through 99, are simply used to break all the SSNs with the same

area number into smaller blocks, which makes administration easier.

(The SSA says that, for administrative reasons, group numbers

issued first consist of the odd numbers from 01 through 09, and

then even numbers from 10 through 98, within each area number

assigned to a state. After all the numbers in group 98 of a

specific area have been issued, the even groups 02 through 08 are

used, followed by odd groups 11 through 99.)

Serial numbers - Within each group designation, serial numbers

-- the last four digits in an SSN -- run consecutively from 0001

through 9999. Although SSNs are issued in some order, there is no

simple way to tell a person's age based on his Social Security

number.

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