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Does someone else get your Social Security number after you die?

Do they re-use Social Security numbers? How do they give them out?

3480 day(s) ago

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The Social Security Administration states that they never reuse the numbers. This means once you have it, itís yours Ė alive or dead. A database is kept of every number ever issued, and the numbers for dead people get marked as such so no one else can use it under false pretenses. Social Security numbers contain nine digits. This makes for almost one billion permutations using digits 0 through 9 in three sets: one set of three digits, one set of two digits, and one set of four digits. It is said that the Social Security administration does not issue numbers where any of the three sets are all zeros. I have also heard that the SSA will reissue a number, on request, if the number contains three 6s in a row. This takes care of a few more possibilities. One estimate is that there are 988, 911, 099 possible Social Security numbers.

Researches claim that we have only used about 400 million numbers so far. Thatís less than half the total. They also say that we donít need to start worrying about running out until sometime after the year 2050. By 2050, approximately 230 million people will be born in the U.S. and another 68 million will immigrate. They say the estimates are within 50 million either way. So, with a worst case scenario, by 2050, about 238 million numbers will be left.

The digits that make up a Social Security number have some significance. The first set is a regional code. Originally, low numbers were for the East Coast and high numbers were for the West Coast. Today, telephone area codes are used. The second set of numbers is a further geographic breakdown, and the last set is assigned sequentially under the first two sets.

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