The U.S. government issues a Social Security number (SSN) to every U.S. citizen and permanent resident and selects temporary residents. An individual’s Social Security card shows this unique 9-digit identifying number and their full, legal name.
SSNs serve several different purposes. They are used to track a person’s employment, taxes, earnings, and any Social Security benefits they are entitled to. You must have a Social Security card to work and pay taxes in the U.S legally.
If you have never been issued an SSN, you must visit a Social Security Administration office in person to apply for one. However, if your Social Security card has been lost, stolen, or damaged and you need a replacement, it’s easy to apply by mail, as long as you meet the following requirements:
- You are a U.S. citizen 18 years or older
- You have a U.S. mailing address
- You do not need to make any corrections or changes to the name on your card
- You have an acceptable form of ID to prove your identity (driver’s license, passport, state-issued ID, etc.)
See also: How to get a replacement Social Security Card