Social Security Numbers (“SSN”) were originally established by the Social Security Administration to track earnings and eligibility for Social Security benefits. Because a SSN is a unique personal identifier that rarely changes, federal agencies use SSN for purposes other than Social Security eligibility (e.g., taxes, food stamps, etc.). In 1974, Congress passed legislation requiring federal agencies that collect SSN to provide individuals with notice regarding whether the collection was mandatory and how the agency intended to use the SSN.1  Congress later barred agencies from disclosing SSN to third parties. Federal law does not, however, regulate private-sector use of SSN….

socialsecurity