to Strengthen Integrity of the SSN
Jo Anne Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security issued the following
statement on initiatives by the Social Security Administration (SSA)
to strengthen the integrity of the Social Security Number (SSN).
"The integrity of the Social Security Number is a matter of great
importance to the Social Security Administration. For several years
SSA has been working to strengthen the process for issuing SSNs
and cards. Concerns about national security, along with the growing
problem of identity theft, have caused us to accelerate our efforts.
"Initiatives already underway or soon to be implemented include:
- No longer issuing an SSN and card to non-citizens for the sole
purpose of applying for a driverís license. (March 2002)
- Piloting an online system for employers to verify the names
and SSNs of newly hired employees. (April 2002)
- Verifying with the state bureaus of vital statistics all birth
records submitted by U.S. born citizens age one or older applying
for an SSN. (June 2002)
- Verifying with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
all immigration documents for non-citizens requesting an SSN.
"We recognize that these initiatives may result in a delay in the
receipt of SSNs for some citizens and non-citizens. However, these
measures are necessary to ensure the integrity of the SSN and will
help ensure that only those who should receive an SSN do so. We
are working closely with the states and INS to minimize these delays.
SSA is also working with INS to issue SSNs to non-citizens legally
eligible for one immediately upon entry into the U.S.
"These initiatives will make SSNs less accessible to those with
criminal intent. They will prevent individuals from from using false
or stolen birth records or immigration documents to obtain an SSN.
They help to ensure the integrity of the SSN for everyone.
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