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U.S. Social Security Number

Social Security numbers are used to report an individualís wages to the government and to determine a personís eligibility for Social Security benefits. You need a Social Security number to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services.

If you are temporarily in the United States to work, your employer will ask for your Social Security number. In general, only noncitizens authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to work in the United States can get a Social Security number. In some cases a person will require an employer's sponsorship or petition. Lawful permanent residents or "green card" holders can obtain a Social Security number and card.

Although many other businesses, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for your number, you are not required to provide it.

Application for a Social Security Number http://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/
Foreign Workers and Social Security http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10107.html