Q: I just had twins. Can I get sequential Social Security numbers to make them easier to remember?
A: Several decades ago, this was possible, but no longer. Even then, it was not a recommended practice. Technological improvements over time, along with security and protection of personal privacy concerns, have changed the way a Social Security number (SSN) is issued.
For years, when parents applied directly to Social Security to request a child’s original Social Security number, offices had internal processing steps in place to prevent sequential SSN’s when multiple births were involved.
Now many new parents use the voluntary Enumeration at Birth (EAB) process to get their newborn(s) a Social Security number. Enumeration at Birth starts while still at the hospital and is very popular across the country. Using it, the state agency that issues birth certificates sends the child’s birth registration information to Social Security. Without any additional paperwork, a Social Security number is randomly issued to the child and the card mailed to the parents.
Whether automatically issued through the Enumeration at Birth program, or by completing a Social Security number application and providing evidence to a local SSA office, new numbers are issued randomly.
Once the first three digits had a geographical significance and this is why Social Security numbers issued in the same area started the same way. Since June 2011, new SSN’s are randomly assigned. This practice protects a person’s SSN by making it more difficult to reconstruct using public information. A side benefit is to make the pool of available Social Security numbers last longer.
Social Security does not charge for SSN activity, whether a new number, changing your name, or replacing a lost card. Instructions and a SSN application are at www.socialsecurity.gov (see http://ssa.gov/ssnumber/). Make sure you are at the official Social Security website. Look for .gov (government).
See Social Security Numbers for Children (SSA Publication 05-10023) for more information.
By the way, the Social Security Administration annually provides a list of the most popular baby names of the previous year near Mother’s Day. Look up popular names by birth year, by state, and by twins.