Have you ever taken a look at your Social Security number and wondered exactly how the Social Security Administration assigned numbers? There is a method to that nine-digit number madness, and it is not as mysterious as it might seem. The prefix, or first three digits, of your number is assigned based on the location in which you were born or lived at the time your number was issued. So, contrary to what some people might believe, they are not simply assigned in numerical order. If you want to learn more about how the prefixes are assigned, then keep reading.
Finding Your Social Security Number (SSN) Prefix By State
Up until 1972, Social Security numbers were issued by the local field offices of the SSA. The prefix used in the number could be used to identify which local SSA office issued the number. Today, numbers are issued by the Social Security Administration central office. The Social Security number prefix still holds some value though. It identifies the state in which the person was born or lived at the time the number was issued, so sorting Social Security numbers by state is easy. Most Social Security numbers are requested upon the birth of a child in the United States, so your prefix identifies the state in which you were born. If you are an immigrant or requested an SSN later in life, the prefix shows which state you resided in at the time of your SSN issuance.
As you will see in the table below, some states have multiple prefixes associated with their location. In addition, some prefixes are reserved for future use and are not currently associated with any state. Likewise, a valid SSN will never begin with the prefix 000 or an area number other than one contained in the chart below. In addition to states, U.S. territories like Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Philippine Islands all have their own unique identifying prefixes. Below is the full table of prefix information, and more info on Social Security numbers can be found at SSA.gov.
|Number Prefix||State Issued|
|223-231 & 691-699||Virginia|
|232||West Virginia – North Carolina|
|237-246 & 681-690||North Carolina|
|247-251 & 654-658||South Carolina|
|252-260 & 667-675||Georgia|
|261-267 & 589-595 & 765-772||Florida|
|408-415 & 756-763||Tennessee|
|425-428 & 587-588 & 752-755||Mississippi|
|429-432 & 676-679||Arkansas|
|729-733||Enumeration of Entery|
|433-439 & 659-665||Louisiana|
|449-467 & 627-647||Texas|
|521-524 & 650-653||Colorado|
|525 & 585 & 648-649||New Mexico|
|526-527 & 600-601 & 764-765||Arizona|
|530 & 680||Nevada|
|545-573 & 602-626||California|
|575-576 & 750-751||Hawaii|
|577-579||District of Columbia|
|586||Guam, American Samoa & Philippines|
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of a Social Security number?
A Social Security number is probably the single most used piece of identifying information in the United States, and there are several places you can find your SSN. It is used for identification in everything from banking and financial transactions to applying for retirement or disability benefits. You use your SSN to file tax returns, apply for loans or credit cards, and track your employment history. Without a valid SSN, you would have a difficult time living in today’s world. Your employer will also need your Social Security number to track your work credits and pay your Medicare and Social Security taxes.
How old does a person have to be to get a Social Security card?
There is no age requirement for obtaining a Social Security card. In fact, most parents request their child’s Social Security number and card upon the child’s birth. Many hospitals will help walk new parents through this process, and the Social Security card usually arrives in a few weeks. For people not born in the United States, a number and card may be requested depending on your immigration status. However, there are still no age requirements for obtaining a card and number. Some other criteria may need to be met though such as immigration status and identity verification. If you have lost your Social Security card, you can always request a new one from the Social Security office.