Generally, SSA assigns an individual one Social Security number (SSN) to track his/her earnings and any benefits he/she may receive. In some cases, an individual can have more than one SSN. For example, when SSA assigns consecutive SSNs to members of the same family, one of the individuals can request a new SSN. If SSA assigns an individual more than one SSN, the Agency generally cross-refers it electronically in its records.
We identified 21,891 pairs of SSNs that had the same name, date of birth, place of birth, and parents’ names in the Numident that were not cross-referenced in SSA’s systems. From this population, we reviewed 66 pairs of SSNs from the 217 individuals who were alive and had claims and/or earnings activity on both SSNs. We also reviewed 81 pairs of SSNs where SSA’s records for 1 of the SSNs indicated the person was deceased and had another SSN, suggesting the person was alive.
The objective of our report was to assess SSA's effectiveness in addressing individuals with multiple SSNs that were not cross-referenced in its systems.