The United States Social Security number (SSN) is issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or legal working immigrants for tax purposes. The numbers were first issued by the Social Security Administration as part of the New Deal in 1936. A Social Security account number is the same thing as a Social Security number.
In 1935, the Social Security Act was passed by the U.S. government, entitling individuals to a government-run retirement system. Although the act did not specifically mention the SSN, it allowed for the creation of a record-keeping number.
The SSN contains nine digits; the first three are the area numbers. The area numbers represent the geographic area of origin for the SSN. Prior to 1972, the numbers indicated the state from which the applicant filed for the SSN.
The second two digits of the SSN are the group numbers. The group numbers are allocated to different states; administratively, the numbers are odd 01-09 or even 10-98.
The last four digits of the SSN are the serial numbers. These numbers are selected randomly and run from 0001 through 9999.
While the primary reason for the SSN is the record-keeping for government retirement, it has become used for several other items. Identification for work purposes, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) applications and food stamps are some areas where the SSN is allowed or required for the application process.