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Tuesday June 25, 2002

Jim Courtney, Press Officer

For Immediate Release

410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973

Social Security Online


News Release

Initiatives to Strengthen Integrity of the SSN
(aquí en español)

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. (July 2002)

"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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