• Do I need a Social Security Number?

    Date: 09.17.12 | by Judge Tom.

    A social security number is a national identification for every U.S. citizen and permanent resident. It is a unique number assigned by the Social Security Administration, an agency of the federal government. It came about in 1935 as part of the Social Security Act.* The law now requires that every child receive a number and can be applied for at birth as part of the birth certificate process.

    A social security number is needed to file your state and federal taxes each year. If you’re too young to file your own taxes, your parents need your social security number to claim you on their taxes as a dependent. The number is also used by the military for identifying all members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard.

    Photo by Donkey Hotey (Flickr)

    Without a social security number, it is difficult if not impossible to apply for a bank loan, mortgage and bank account. Protect your number since it is commonly used by thieves who engage in identity theft. Your number is like your fingerprint – no two are alike and no one else has your exact nine-digit social security number. Be very careful about giving it out especially online.

    For more information about social security numbers, including getting a replacement card if you lose yours, go to www.ssa.gov.

    *42 United States Code Section 405(C)(2)

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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