February 23, 2005
GAO Calls for Increased Protection of Children's Social Security Numbers
"In fiscal year 2004, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued about 4.2 million original Social Security numbers (SSN) and 2 million SSN replacement cards to U.S.-born children. Despite its narrowly intended purpose, today, young children need a SSN to be claimed on their parent's income tax return or to apply for certain government benefits. Because children's SSNs, like all SSNs, are vulnerable to theft and misuse, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance requested that GAO (1) document SSA's current processes and internal controls for issuing SSNs to U.S.-born children under the age of 18 and (2) identify any weaknesses that may affect SSA's ability to ensure the integrity of the SSN and the efficiency of enumeration processes."