As of June 25, 2011, the SSA made changes to how SSNs are issued and verified. This change is called SSN Randomization.
“The SSA began assigning the nine-digit SSN in 1936 for the purpose of tracking workers’ earnings over the course of their lifetimes to pay benefits. Since its inception, the SSN has always been comprised of the three-digit area number, followed by the two-digit group number, and ending with the four-digit serial number. Since 1972, the SSA has issued Social Security cards centrally and the area number reflects the state, as determined by the ZIP code in the mailing address of the application.” – SSA
SSN randomization will affect the SSN assignment process in the following ways:
- It will eliminate the geographical significance of the first three digits of the SSN, currently referred to as the area number, by no longer allocating the area numbers for assignment to individuals in specific states.
- It will eliminate the significance of the highest group number and, as a result, the High Group List will be frozen in time and can be used for validation of SSNs issued prior to the randomization implementation date.
Previously unassigned area numbers will be introduced for assignment excluding area numbers 000, 666 and 900-999.
For more information on SSN Randomization, please visit http://www.ssa.gov/employer/randomization.html