The Importance of a social security card

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a nine-digit number in an XXX-XX-XXXX format. It is issued to every U.S. citizen and eligible US residents who work in the United States. The primary purpose of SSN was to keep track of an individual’s lifetime income for taxation purposes. The social security card which holds the SSN is mainly used for identification (proof of identity).

If you consider the structure of the SSN mentioned earlier you will see that the first three numbers represent the area it was issued, the middle two are group numbers with specific patterns used for administrative purposes and the final four are the serial number ranging from 0001 to 9999. Most people use the same social security card their whole life, the rest have to apply for a replacement SSN usually as a result of identity theft from

Importance of SSN

Your SSN is proof of your identity. In the eyes of the law, no one except the government, your employer and the financial institutions you use has access or knows your SSN. An employer will use an employee’s SSN to report their Social Security wages to the Social Security Administration and to report their income to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) for taxation. In states that have income tax, the employer also uses the SSN to report state income tax.

A Social Security Number can be used to track almost every single aspect of a person’s life like your financial history, emigration status, driving history e.t.c. This is why it is imperative that you protect your social security card at all times. You should never share your whole SSN with anyone else especially online. You can use the last four numbers to identify yourself if needed but not more.

Where you will require SSN

To open an account with a U.S. financial institution.

For the past four decades, the federal government has required financial institutions to have an account holder’s Social Security Number. Banks and other financial institutions use your SSN to check your credit history and report to the Internal Revenue Services.

2. When applying for some types of social benefits programs

Public assistance programs like disability income or unemployment benefits are managed by state or federal agencies who require a Social Security Number to identify individuals and verify their benefit claims.

3. To apply for a federal loan

When applying for a federal loan such as a federal student loan the government uses your social security number to check whether you are eligible for the loan. For example, when applying for a federal student loan a person must have legitimate citizenship or visitation status and they should not be currently defaulting on another federal loan, all these can be verified by checking your social security number.

4. When applying for a drivers license

You have to provide a Social Security Number when applying for a driver’s license.

5. To apply for a passport

According to federal law, you are required to provide an SSN, if you have it, when applying for a U.S. passport. Failure to provide your SSN will lead to a $500 fine.


Never share your SSN with anyone else except the bank, the government, and a legitimate employer. Keep your number private at all times, do not post it online, photocopy your social security card or communicate the number over the phone.