In the United States, a Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary (working) residents under section 205(c)(2) of the Social Security Act, codified as 42 U.S.C. § 405(c)(2).
The number is issued to an individual by the Social Security Administration, an independent agency of the United States government. Although its primary purpose is to track individuals for Social Security purposes, the Social Security number has become a de facto national identification number for taxation and other purposes.
The codes following a Social Security number indicate the type of benefits you are entitled to. The Social Security number followed by one of these codes is often referred to as a claim number and they are only assigned once you apply for benefits. These letter codes may appear on correspondence that you
receive from Social Security or on your Medicare card. They will never appear on a Social Security
For example, if the Social Security of the wage earner number is 123-45-6789, then once you apply for
retirement benefits; your claim number is 123-45-6789A. This number will also be used as your Medicare claim number, once you are eligible for Medicare.
Primary claimant (wage earner)
|Aged wife, age 62 or over
|Aged husband, age 62 or over
|Young wife, with a child in her care
|Aged wife, age 62 or over, second claimant
|Young wife, with a child in her care, second claimant
|Divorced wife, age 62 or over
|Young husband, with a child in his care
|Child – Includes minor, student or disabled child
|Aged Widow, age 60 or over
|Aged widower, age 60 or over
|Aged widow (2nd claimant)
|Aged widower (2nd claimant)
|Surviving Divorced Wife, age 60 or over
|Surviving Divorced Mother
|Surviving Divorced Father
|Disabled claimant (wage earner)
|Aged wife of disabled claimant, age 62 or over
|Uninsured – Premium Health Insurance Benefits (Part A)
|Uninsured – Qualified for but refused Health Insurance Benefits (Part A)
|Uninsured – Entitled to HIB (Part A) under deemed or renal provisions; or Fully insured who have elected entitlement only to HIB
|Medicare Qualified Government Employment (MQGE)
|MQGE aged spouse
|Disabled Surviving Divorced Wife
A Social Security number may be obtained by applying on Form SS-5, Application for A Social Security Number Card.
NOTE: This list is not complete, but shows the most common beneficiary codes. For up-to-date