Child’s Social Security Number: How to Find It? (FAQs+)

If you’re a U.S resident, Social Security Number is very important for every citizen to get the social security benefits.

The government initiative started in 1936 to track of money an American makes during his lifetime and calculation of Social Security benefits.

A nine-digit SSN is issued to every U.S. citizen and eligible resident of the U.S. as per the government rules. SSN is necessary whether you want to use it as identification, get a job or collect government benefits.

It’s very important to protect your SSN number to avoid identity theft. It can have consequences like fake bank accounts, credit cards, or other financial frauds.

With said that, every child in the U.S. is also assigned an SSN number which can be applied for at the time of birth or later on.

We will discuss a child’s SSN has several benefits for the parents. Besides, if, as a parent, you don’t know how to find a child’s SSN or get a new SSN for your child, we will guide you in this article. So let’s get into it.

What Is Social Security Number?

A Social Security Number is a nine-digit number issued by the government of the United States as a numerical identifier to determine the income and benefits.

SSN is also necessary for tax purposes (filing forms), opening bank accounts, major purchases, etc. SSN is issued to every U.S. national and resident irrespective of employment status.

If we deconstruct the SSN issued to every resident and national, it is composed of the following three parts:

  • First three digits –Area Number
  • Next two digits –Group Number
  • Last four digits –Serial Number

Is It Mandatory For Children To Have A Social Security Number?

According to the instructions issued by the Social Security Administration of the U.S. government, it’s not mandatory for children to have a social security number. Getting an SSN for a newborn baby will be a voluntary action.

Then why do parents get SSN for their children?

Although SSN is not required by law for children, it’s necessary for getting important services or benefits.

Therefore, parents should go to get an SSN number for their newborn or younger children. Some of the benefits and services that can’t be availed without a child’s SSN are as follows:

  • Bank account of a child
  • Medical coverage for a child
  • Government service for a child
  • Purchasing saving bonds for your child
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How To Get a Child’s Social Security Number?

Now to the question of getting a child’s SSN. There are two ways that parents can get SSN numbers for their children: at birthtime or at SSA (Social Security Administration) office. Let’s discuss each one of these. We will discuss how to apply for SSN for a newborn or a young child.

At Time Of Birth

You can opt to apply for the SSN of your child and proceed with the application at the hospital. Usually, when you’re applying for your child’s birth certificate, you’re also given the option of applying for the SSN.

The Social Security Number of both parents is required to apply for the SSN. Even if you don’t remember your and your spouse’s SSN, you can still apply for the Social Security Number of your child.

At Social Security Office

The second option for the parents is to apply for SSN by visiting Social Security Office at any time. However, if parents don’t go after applying at the time of birth, they will need to fill the Form SS-5 to proceed with the application.

Besides, when the child is above 12, the child must appear in person at the Social Security Office for an interview. You can call in advance and schedule an appointment to avoid the long waits when visiting the office without a prior appointment.

How Can Non-U.S. Citizens Get Their SSN?

If citizens of the USA without resident status or citizenship want to get their SSN, they must be legal in the country. People with permanent residency can apply and get the same kind of Social Security Card as the country’s nationals.

They will be required to furnish proof of identity and authorization from DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to get a job in the United States. Therefore, the noncitizens are issued a limited Social Security Number. There are two types of limited SSN for noncitizens:

  • For temporary permission to live and work in the U.S., a Social Security Card with the stamp “Valid for work only with DHS authorization” is issued to the applicant.
  • For Social Security Number required for other than job reasons, a Social Security Card with the stamp “Not Valid for Employment” is issued to the applicant.
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What Are Documents Required For SSN?

When you’re visiting the Social Security Office to proceed with the application for your child’s SSN, the following documents are required to be furnished:

  • Application form as in SS-5 for Social Security Card to be filled
  • Original documents proving your child’s age, identity, and U.S. citizenship
  • Documents showing the identity of the parents as well as their relationship to the child

Documents To Show Identity, Age, and Citizenship of the Child

The parents must show proof of a child’s age, identity, and citizenship. The following documents can be shown in each case:


For children born in the U.S., a birth certificate must be furnished for application for SSN. however, if the birth certificate is not present, the following documents can be presented and accepted:

  • U.S. hospital birth record
  • Passport
  • The religious record was made before the age of five to show DOB


The documents that are accepted by the Social Security Administration as a proof of citizenship are as follows:

  • U.S. birth certificate
  • U.S. Passport
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
  • U.S. consular report of birth


Social Security Office accepts the following documents as the proof of identity for your child:

  • U.S. Passport
  • Adoption Decree
  • School or Daycare center record
  • School Identification Card
  • Doctor, Clinic, or Hospital Record
  • State-issued non-driver identification card

However, the department generally prefers a U.S. passport when applying for SSN.

For the identity of the parents, a state-issued non-driver identification card, driver’s license, or passport in the U.S. is asked to be furnished by the department.

However, if the mentioned documents are not available, you can furnish the following documents:

How To Get SSN For Adopted Child?

The social security office issues a Social Security Number to the child before the adoption process is completed.

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Therefore, if you’re adopting a child, you will have to wait for the adoption process to complete before you can apply for a new SSN for your child according to his new name and your name in the parent’s section.

However, if the adoption process is pending and you want to claim your child for tax purposes, you can consult with a tax professional or IRS for furnishing FORM W-7A (application for a taxpayer identification number for pending U.S. adoptions).

You will be issued an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number(AITN) valid for two years and it can be extended until the adoption is finalized.

Where To Find A Child’s Social Security Number?

As mentioned earlier, the Social Security Number is a nine-digit numerical identifier, it can be found written on the front of a Social Security Card.

If you’re not able to locate your child’s Social Security card, you can also find it on the previous tax returns in which you have claimed your child. Besides, there can be other documents where the SSN of your child might be written.

How To Get A New Replacement SSN When First One Is Lost?

If your child’s Social Security Card is lost or torn, you can apply for a replacement card from the authorities. You can get a free replacement card every year free up to a limit of 10 free replacements for a person’s lifetime.

You will be required to furnish the same documents for getting a replacement card as for a first-time application. Keep in mind that the replacement is completely free and SSA won’t charge you a dime for it.

Final Words

You can find the SSN of your child after applying for one and getting the Social Security Card. Besides, if social security card is misplaced or lost, a new replacement can be applied for with the same documents.

However, it’s important to note that the Social Security Administration doesn’t charge anything to the applicants. If some companies are telling you to apply for SSN against a fee, do not trust them and report to the relevant authority.