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Americans sometimes(all the time?) wonder where their money goes when they see their take home paycheck versus their gross pay check. While most people have heard of Social Security, they may not understand the ins and outs of it and why each person is assigned a Social Security number. Here are some interesting fun facts about Social Security numbers and their history.

You are required to get a Social Security number before you work your first job. Parents will need a number for kids to claim a deduction on their taxes. Officially, if you are 18 and earn money, you have to get a number because the employer has to use it to report their income. You can’t opt out of the Social Security system. Social Security is the name given to a host of programs. Technically, it is old age, disability, survivor’s insurance, supplemental security income for the disabled or the elderly. Employees and employers are required to pay Social Security taxes. Most of the money collected goes to pay current recipients.

Your Social Security number is primarily to track your income throughout your life to determine retirement benefits. The numbers are not assigned sequentially or consecutively, they are assigned regionally and in batches. The numbers have already been assigned in more than 400 million different sequences. The fist three are the area, which was originally by state, low for east, higher for west, now it’s by zip code so it still generally falls by mailing address, next two are the group, from 01 to 99, which just breaks the area down further so they can get more numbers, last four are the serial numbers, 1-9999, consecutively. It will be several generations before they run out of numbers. (One Billion combinations) When people die, the number becomes inactive, and is not re-used. You can’t tell how old someone is by their Social Security number.

According to a recent article, the first Social Security number was officially issued to a John David Sweeney, age 23. Mr. Sweeney died at 61 in 1974 and never collected a dime. His number was 055-09-0001. Grace D. Owen, of Concord, NH got 001-01-0001. Ernest Ackerman first to receive a one-time lump sum of 17 cents in 1937. Ida May Fuller was the first to get monthly benefits, She paid in $24.75, her first check was $22.54, went on collecting for 35 years, a total of $22,888.92 until she died at age 100 in 1975. On October 15th, 2007, the first of the baby boomers applied for Social Security. Kathy Casey-Kirschling turned 62 on January 1st, 2008. For more information, read

To quote a famous media personality, now you know the rest of the story. If you have been turned down for Social Security Disability benefits, please contact our firm. We may be able to help.

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