Social Security Numbers
This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.
Original Social Security Number Application Forms
Image of the original 1936 Social Security Number card
Original Social Security Number Process:
Social Security cards were first issued beginning in November
1936. The Post Office, employers and labor unions helped the
Social Security Board distribute the necessary application
forms. There were three basic forms used in the process, along
with various explanatory materials. The original forms and
explanatory materials from 1936 are reproduced below.
The Application Documents:
1. The first-step in the process involved distributing a form
to employers which assigned an Identification Number to every
employer who had employees covered under the new Social Security
program. This form was the SS-4.
2. The employees were then given an SS-5 form to complete,
which solicited the information needed to issue the SSN.
3. The information from the SS-5 form was then transferred
to a form OA-702 which would be the Office Record of the application
to be filed in the Social Security Board's headquarters in
Baltimore. The actual card itself was a perforated tear-off
from the OA-702 form.
Each of these three forms contained attached explanatory materials.
Separate explanatory materials were also developed for the
employers, the employees, and the Post Office workers who
were involved in the process. All these documents are reproduced