How to Find Someone's Social Security Number (SSN)

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Image Credit: mihailomilovanovic/E+/GettyImages

The Social Security number is a key part of your identity as an American citizen. You are assigned a number when you are born in the United States or upon receiving full citizenship status. The nine-digit number is part of your financial identity and is used to track earnings across your entire life. As a taxpayer, you contribute earnings to the Social Security system throughout your lifetime and receive a return on the contributions in the form of disability checks or income checks after reaching an eligible age.


Benefits of a Social Security Number

The IRS uses your Social Security number to track your earnings and the number of years you work. The Social Security number acts as a ledger of sorts and is attached to every bit of income and each tax filing you make. The amount of Social Security income you receive is calculated based on the number of years you worked and your lifetime earnings. Eligibility to receive monthly income from Social Security begins at 62 years old, but many people do not collect until the age of 66 or later because the amount increases when you wait several years.


Video of the Day

It is relatively simple to find a Social Security number that belongs to you. If you lost your card, you can visit your local Social Security Administration office and apply for a replacement. You will need several forms of identification such as a birth certificate or passport to prove your identity and receive a replacement card, which will have your SSN printed on it. If you forgot the number and do not want to replace the card, contact your employer or a previous employer and ask for a copy of your W2, W9 or another tax document used to track your income. Your Social Security number is listed on these documents.


Third-Party Services

The Social Security number is guarded by many people, but looking up the number of another person is possible. You need the exact name from their birth certificate. For a deceased person, use the Social Security Death Index to search for numbers associated with the individual. Numerous online services will run the name through the Index for a fee. Finding the SSN for a living individual is either done through their voluntary consent to disclose the number or through a private detective service. Employers are not legally allowed to give out the personal information of their employees.