Social Security Q&A: Are Social Security Numbers Ever Re-Used?

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social security number

Question: After a person dies, is the Social Security number used or reissued to someone else? (M. Ordones, Miramar)  

Answer: No. We do not reassign a Social Security number (SSN) after the number holder’s death. Even though we have issued over 453 million SSNs so far, and we assign about 5.5 million new numbers each year, the current numbering system will provide us with enough new numbers for several generations into the future with no changes in the numbering system. 

Related: Social Security: Fraudsters Never Go On Vacation

Question: How long does it take, and what is the cost, to receive a Social Security Card? (R. Vargas, Hialeah) 

Answer: Getting a social security card is free.  

We mail your Social Security card as soon as we have all the necessary information, usually within 7-10 business days from that time. Because we are experiencing slight delays in processing mail-in Social Security card applications, it may take us between 2-4 weeks to process a mail-in application and return the evidence. 

If you are applying for a new or replacement Social Security card using Form I-765 and/or Form I-485, we will issue your card within 7-10 business days after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approves your work authorization or Permanent Residence application. 

Question: What should I do if my name and Social Security number do not match Internal Revenue Service records? (E. McAllistor, Deerfield Beach) 

Answer: Contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm and speak to a representative. 

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