Social Security Number Card- Explore Different Types

Social Security Number Card- Explore Different Types

Social Security Number (SSN) is an exclusive number that is issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is issued to all US citizens, permanent residents as well as some foreign nationals who fulfill the eligibility criteria. The first Social Security number card in the US was issued in the 1930s. Today, it has become an indispensable document that serves various purposes.

The Social Security number is a nine-digit figure that is categorized into three parts. The starting three digits of the number indicate the area of residence. The middle two digits are group numbers ranging from 01 to 99 that only seek to break the complete figure into separate blocks. And finally, the last four digits denote a straight numerical figure of allocated numbers.

In this article, we will understand the different types of Social Security number card as well as find out how to apply for Social Security number.

Purpose of Having a Social Security Number Card

In the US, having a Social Security number card is extremely important. It is a number that grants an individual permission to work in the country as well as gain access to financial services. An SSN is typically needed for employment purposes. Non-resident and resident aliens in the US who cannot obtain an SSN for some reason can then apply for an individual tax id number.


A Social Security number card also comes into play for seeking disability benefits. People who have been incapacitated and lost their ability to work may claim Social Security disability benefits from the government.

You can find Social Security number indispensable in the following cases:

  • When tracking working individuals for the purpose of tax
  • When checking eligibility for Social Security benefits
  • When opening a bank account with any US financial institution
  • When applying for a Federal loan
  • When applying for a passport
  • When enrolling in Medicare
  • When applying for a certain type of public assistance
  • When reporting wages to the government

Types of Social Security Number Card

There are three different types of Social Security number cards issued by the SSA.

  1. The first type is issued to US citizens and other permanent residents of the country. The card displays the holder’s name and the number. This card grants the holder the lawful right to work in the US without any restrictions. He/she can earn Social Security credit points that qualify the person for seeking disability or retirement benefits.
  2. The second Social Security number card is issued to individuals who have lawfully entered the US on a temporary basis and have DHS authorization. This authorization permits the individuals to work in the country. These SSN cards also hold the cardholder’s name.
  3. The third kind of SSN card is issued to foreigners who have lawfully entered the US without any work authorization from DHS. But these individuals have a valid non-work reason to require an SSN. Typically, this number is required by individuals who are to receive some kind of benefit or social service. However, they cannot work in the country in any capacity.

How to Apply for Social Security Number?

Applying for a Social Security number card is a straightforward procedure. You need to fill out Form SS-5 from the Social Security Administration. Using the same form, one may obtain an SSN, replace an SSN, or correct SSN records.

Apart from the form, the candidates need to provide a few other documents, such as immigration and work eligibility documents, proof of age, identity proof, etc. All documents submitted must be originals or copies authenticated by the issuing agency. Photocopies of any documents are not accepted. There is no cost involved in obtaining the SSN.

Once all the documents have been submitted the SSA will verify them. This also includes verifying the work authorization with DHS and immigration documents. Typically, the applicants can find Social Security number card issued within 2 weeks.

However, sometimes, the verification process may take a little longer. In that case, it may take 2 more weeks to receive the Social Security number card.

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