It’s important to know that you can check a Social Security number for yourself or a legal dependent, such as a child. It’s also important to know that an employer or third-party requester can check your Social Security number as well.
The checking process, referred to as verification, includes comparing a Social Security number you present with the same number in Social Security’s database. The process doesn’t include or expose the identity of the Social Security number account holder or other relevant information.
How to Check Your Own Social Security Number
If you lose or misplace a Social Security card and can’t find a paycheck stub or financial statement that includes your Social Security number, it may be necessary to present proof of identity to Social Security in order to obtain a replacement Social Security card:
Bring acceptable proof of identity to your local Social Security office. Submit a state-issued ID, like a driver’s license or state identity card, United States passport, or certified copy of your birth certificate (not a photocopy or notarized copy).
If you don’t have any of these ID proofs on hand, SSA may accept a U.S. military identity card, certified medical record, Medicaid ID, private health insurance card, employee ID, or school ID card.
If you are a naturalized citizen, you may present your Certificate of Naturalization. If you’re not a United States citizen, bring your foreign passport and current immigration documents to SSA.
It may be easiest to bring important documents like these to a Social Security office because, once accepted, SSA will return them to you.
You will also be asked to fill out a Form SS-5 to retrieve your Social Security number (or your dependent’s Social Security number). To simplify your visit to Social Security, download the SS-5 form from the SSA.gov site, fill it in, and bring the completed copy with you. To complete this form, you’ll need to indicate your birthplace, father’s name, and mother’s maiden name if she changed her given name after marriage.
If you don’t know the location of your local SSA field office, visit the SSA.gov site or call 1-800-772-1213 for help.
During your Social Security office visit, an SSA employee will review and verify the proof of identity documents provided. Once this step is completed, you’ll have access to a printed Social Security Statement that contains your Social Security number. Social Security will mail a replacement card to your U.S. address in about two weeks. Make sure that SSA has the correct address and contact information on file.
You may verify up to 10 names and Social Security numbers at once or, for larger verification tasks, upload a file with up to 250,000 names and SSN numbers.
In most cases, your verification results are available the next business day.
Employers may use the service to verify Social Security numbers used by previous or current employees.
Consent-Based SSN Verification Service (CBSV)
Lenders, licensors, and others requiring a background check use consent-based formats to verify the accountholder’s name, birthdate, and match with Social Security Administration records:
Users of CBSV must input a tax identification or Employer Identification Number (EIN). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues these numbers.
CBSV verification is costly. User companies pay USD 5-10,000 or more to establish an account, and pay a fee for each individual Social Security number they verify through the CBSV.
Request Social Security Number Check from SSA
If you’re an employer or authorized requestor, it’s possible to check one or more SSNs through a local Social Security field office. You may check up to 50 different Social Security numbers by making a written request:
Submit the Social Security number, Social Security accountholder’s last name, first name, middle initial/name, and birthdate in a column format.
You may submit the information in hard copy to Social Security by USPS.
Ask for a USPS delivery receipt at your expense.
Otherwise, ask the local Social Security office for confirmation of receipt.
Ask the local Social Security office if they will accept your request by fax.
You may also request Social Security number checks by telephone if you’re registered with Social Security Number Verification Service if an emergency presents or the online system isn’t available. You’ll be asked to verify your identity and provide your tax ID or EIN to use Social Security’s verification system by telephone.