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Some little known facts about the Social Security number

Nearly every American is very familiar with at least one important aspect of Social Security – his or her Social Security number. Most of us know that number by heart, but otherwise never give it much thought. There is a lot of history and trivia behind the Social Security number and card. Here are a handful of interesting facts about them:

• The artist who designed the original Social Security card in 1936, Fred Happel of Albany, N.Y., also designed the famous “Flying Tigers” logo used by General Chennault’s forces during World War II.

• There are about one billion possible Social Security number combinations.

• Approximately 442 million Social Security numbers have been issued since 1936. About 280 million of those numbers remain active. Social Security does not reuse Social Security numbers.

• Social Security assigns about five and one-half million new numbers each year.

• Generally speaking, you are limited to three replacement Social Security cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. There are some exceptions.

Here is one more fact about the Social Security card and number that everyone should know: There is never a charge for getting a new or replacement Social Security card or for changing your name with Social Security. Please remember this if you ever get offers from middlemen” who want to charge you a fee to help you get a Social Security card or number or change your name on your Social Security card and records.

Another important thing to remember is keep your card in a safe place, with your important papers. You should not carry it with you unless you know you are going to need it, such as for a new employer. And don’t give your Social Security number out to just anyone. Safeguarding your Social Security card and number will go a long way to keep your identity safe.

If you’d like to learn more about the Social Security card and number, visit our website on the subject at www.socialsecurity.gov/ ssnumber/.

For more information about Social Security, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.

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