Social Security Numbers for Newborns

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS FOR NEWBORNS

You have a lot of things on your mind when you have a baby. We realize that getting a Social Security number isn't at the top of your list of things to do. But we're using this opportunity to tell you why it's important that you get a number for your baby and how easy it is to get one. We'll also answer some other questions you might have about Social Security numbers.

WHY SHOULD I GET A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER FOR MY BABY

The main reason you should get a Social Security number is to claim your baby as a dependent on your income tax return. An exception is made if your child is born in December 1996; you have until the following year to get a Social Security number for your child. And, getting a Social Security number is just the beginning of the valuable protection and benefits your child may be eligible for in the future.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER FOR MY BABY?

You don't need to fill out a special application or go to a Social Security office to get a Social Security number. When your hospital representative or doctor asks you for the information needed to complete your baby's birth certificate, all you have to do is tell them to have your state's vital statistics office share the information with the Social Security Administration. If you do, a Social Security card will be mailed to you. It is as easy as that!

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF GETTING A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER WHEN MY BABY IS BORN?

Young children need Social Security numbers for many reasons, in addition to the tax reason mentioned earlier. If you plan to open a bank account, buy savings bonds, or apply for some kinds of government services for your child, then your child will need a number.

You can apply for a number at birth, or you can wait and get one from Social Security later. The choice is yours. However, applying for a number at BIRTH means that you won't have to visit a Social Security office in person, fill out a special application form, or submit a birth certificate or other evidence to Social Security when you need the number. To apply for a number at BIRTH, all you have to do is tell your hospital representative or doctor to have the information on your baby's birth certificate sent to Social Security. But, the choice is up to you.

MUST MY BABY HAVE A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER NOW?

No! Getting a Social Security number for your baby is strictly VOLUNTARY. You won't get a number unless you ask for one when you provide the information for your baby's birth certificate.

If you decide not to ask for a number when your baby is born, you can get one later by contacting the nearest Social Security office. Of course, you'll be asked to provide evidence that you are the child's parent or legal custodian and evidence of your child's age, identity, and citizenship. Your local office can provide you with more information.

WILL I HAVE TO PAY TO RECEIVE A NUMBER?

No! There is NEVER a charge for a Social Security card and number. If you're contacted by someone who wants to charge you for getting a card or number, or for any Social Security service, please be aware that the same services are available FREE OF CHARGE from the Social Security Administration.

WHAT IF I LOSE MY BABY'S SOCIAL SECURITY CARD?

We suggest that you keep your baby's Social Security card in a safe place, as you would any important document. However, should you lose the card, Social Security will replace it at no charge. Just contact your nearest Social Security office.

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

When you apply for a Social Security number, all information provided is kept strictly confidential and is notdisclosed except as provided for under the law.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

You can get more information 24 hours a day by calling Social Security's toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. You can speak to a service representative between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on business days. Our lines are busiest early in the week and early in the month so, if your business can wait, it's best to call at other times. Whenever you call, have your Social Security number handy.

If you have a touch-tone phone, recorded information and services are available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.

Social Security publications are available to users of the Internet. Type http://www.ssa.gov to access Internet and these publications.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our toll-free "TTY" number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on business days.

The Social Security Administration treats all calls confidentially--whether they're made to our toll-free numbers or to one of our local offices. We also want to make sure that you receive accurate and courteous service. That's why we have a second Social Security representative monitor some incoming and outgoing telephone calls.

Social Security Administration
SSA Publication 05-10023
July 1996

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