A few years ago when I was applying for a job and got hired, the manager of the store asked me for two forms of ID. I said I would have to come back with my passport because I only had my driver’s license on me. He asked me why I didn’t just give him my social security card, and I responded with the blankest of blank stares.
I know my social security number, but I’ve never even seen the card, never mind carrying it around in my wallet. I believe my parents have had it locked up in a safe deposit box since I was born. This seems natural to me, as it’s a pretty valuable document–it would be a horrible pain to go through replacing it, and why take the risk when other forms of identity have to be carried around for stuff like driving anyway?
So, two questions: first of all, is it really that common for people to carry their social security cards around with them?
Second, is there any reason for me, personally, to get my SS card from my parents and keep it somewhere more easily accessible? Any identification process that will not be satisfied with my driver’s license, passport, and/or birth certificate?
Yes, lots of people seem to carry their social security cards with them. People tried to hand them to me all the time as “second ID” to get a Blockbuster card. This despite the fact that there’s a clearly written warning on the card that your SS card punches out of NOT to carry it with you, but to keep it in a secure location, like a safe deposit box.
For what it’s worth, it’s not that hard to get a replacement card. I’d keep it safe where it is (assuming you have access to the box in case of godforbid something happening to your parents). Even then, it’s not such a big deal. A trip to the Social Security office with a driver’s license and birth certificate will get you a new one in two weeks.
Some SS cards have the phrase “not for identification purposes” printed on them.
There’s various “protections” and rules about who can ask for your number or card, but hey, unless you have lots of time on your hands and are really into reading government regulations, just carry the card and produce it if it seems like a legitamate request.
When you are hired for a new job, the employer is required to fill out IRS form I-9, to verify your identification and employability. To do this, they need to see either a passport, which verifies both categories, or two separate forms of ID – one to verify identity, such as a Drivers License or other government issued picture ID and one to verify employability, such as a SS card, birth certificate, “green card”, etc. Drivers license and SS card are the most common combination.
Since I recently started a new job, I dug out my SS card and stuck it in my wallet on the first day of work, and I haven’t gotten around to taking it out again. I need to remember to do that.
I HAD my original SS card issued the first year they came into existence. At the time, circa 1935 it was emphatically declered by the gov’t that they would NEVeR be used for ID. But that did change.
At the time I earned $.90 twice a week for the magnifigant sum of 1.80 from which IIRC 2 cents was deducted for SS tax. I had a helper who got .30 2x/wk or $/60 and I netted the $1.78. For an 8th or 9th grader that was a neat sum!
P.S. Just wait till you get an implanted RID chip!
It was a kid’s job delivering a 2x/wk advertising paper to each and every apartment/house back door in a four city block area. Each paper had to be rolled/folder and rubberband applied. Then stuck in the screen door handle or stuck between the knob and jamb with the rubber band over the knob. Make it easy for the resident to get the paper in hand readily. About a 2 1/2 to 3 hours for 2 kids.
My dad drove to IA from n.e. IL and gas in IA was 5 cents due to a local price war.
Rode the Burlington RR one time when it stopped in IL and everyone got off and picked a watermelon.
In Canada we have Social Insurance Numbers rather than Social Security Numbers, but the principal is the same, and according to the Employment Insurance folks one is supposed to show it within 3 days of getting a new job. Nonetheless I went for at least 20 years with no SIN card (going through several changes of employment in the interim) with no problem; no one has asked to see the real card after I’ve rhymed off my number. I did have a paranoid moment a couple of years ago and applied for a replacement card just in case someone ever did demand it. It’s now gathering dust in my safety deposit box and there it will stay until such time as someone legitimately demands to see it.
I had one at one time, and upon reflection, I believe it’s at the bottom of SF Bay, with the last draft card (1H) I was ever issued keeping it company. I lost my wallet in the bay many years ago, and I didn’t replace the card. Since nobody ever asked to see it, and I know the number, I just didn’t see the need.
I not so long ago worked as a manager who dealt with employment matters. Federal law states that before someone is hired the MUST provide proof of who they are AND authorization to work in the US. There are multiple ways this can be done. A drivers license and a SS card will do. A Nigerian passport and a permit to work in the US from the INS will do. (I actually had to approve the authorization to work for a couple Nigerians who were in the US on student visas. This scenario is common in the large college town I live in.) The ideal and simplest case is someone with a valid US passport. This alone proves ID AND permission to work in the US. I could have got in loads of trouble, including discrimination issues, had I not accepted a US passport alone as adequate.
Oh, yeah, I understand about the identification thing, totally. What was weird was that the employer was totally shocked that I’d have easier access to my US passport than my SS card. He couldn’t get it through his head that I’d never even seen the thing. Whatever, though, it’s not like he had a problem with taking the passport once I brought it in.
Where did you apply to work? Was it anywhere that the managers could reasonably be assumed to be well trained and intelligent? Where I worked before as a “manager”, techically I wasn’t a manager. It’s just that the the top boss recognized I had a clue, would never accept being overworked and underpaid like the “real” managers, he just gave me managers clearance on the computer system, and stayed out of my way. Everyone else just treated me as a manager, and all was OK. He knew I was the sort of guy who would know how to handle an employment applicant with a US passport. Heck, not only would none of the other managers known how to deal with a US passport, none of them would have had a clue what one looked like.
This sort of thing is not unusual with any employer where the low level workers are paid near minimum wage. Typically the managers make little more. And they don’t get to be managers because they know INS legalities. They just never would have encountered an applicant for employment with a passport who was a US citizen. Hell, they didn’t even know the basics of dealing with customers. I had to repeatedly end up saying things like “I’m sorry Ma’am, this is totally unacceptable. Let me fix the problem for you.”
Goddess, that job sucked. Thankfully we parted company when I refused act cluelessly.
I figure this was the case. I don’t really fault the manager for being a little surprised, it just took me funny at the time, because…well, pretty much everybody I knew had an up-to-date passport. I realize that saying this exposes sort of an ugly, deep-seated class/educational/whatever bias in me, but that was my reaction.
Great advice, but have you taken a close look at the ID card for whichever health insurance plan you’re enrolled in? Chances are it’s your (or your spouses, depending upon who the plan is issued to) SSN, without the dashes.
It’s helped me a few times when I needed to know the wife’s number.