How to Get a Social Security Number For Your Child

  • By Greg Brown
  • Feb 20, 2023

getting a ssn for a newborn

Every parent's job is to teach their children the difference between right and wrong, set them on a good path forward, and provide a solid foundation. Other than the priceless intangibles, the single most important document a parent can give their child is a social security card. 

Getting a social security number for a newborn is voluntary; if the parents decide to wait till after the birth, the process can drag on at the SSA office. The easiest way to obtain a social security card for a newborn is at the hospital when applying for their birth certificate. If you want to apply for a social security number when filling out the birth certificate form, answer yes. Both parents are asked to supply their social security numbers. 

Enumeration at Birth was implemented as a pilot program in 1987 on a limited basis. By 1997, all states were using the EAB program. There are two ways for a child under the age of one to get a social security card.

  1. Parents can go to the local field office for the SSA and submit the proper documentation. Evidence of identity for the child and parents is required.
  2. Use the EAB program at the hospital while applying for the birth certificate.

All the information is transmitted at the hospital or birthing center to the SSA for the newborn’s SS card assignment. Several forms are sent and collected as proof the parents went through the EAB program. 

Benefits of a Newborn’s Social Security Card

The first significant benefit is for the parents of the newborn when they claim a child tax benefit. There are several requirements the IRS has placed on claiming a child as a dependent. However, nothing can be accomplished if the newborn does not have a social security number. 

Purchasing a Treasury Savings Bond is an excellent way to build your child’s financial future. The first step is to open a TreasuryDirect account in the newborn’s name. (the newborn must have a social security number) Savings bonds are an incredibly safe way to grow money for the long term. Purchase either an EE or I bond backed by the US Government’s full faith.

According to several medical services, coverage for a newborn is some of the most expensive outlays of money parents will face. Work-based coverage, private insurance, or the Affordable Care Act, newborns are covered for the first 30 days. However, on day 31, carriers do not extend benefits.

Obtaining a SS number and planning for your child’s future takes a lot of work. Every state has different criteria for a newborn’s health insurance; check this online form for more information.

Government services for a newborn are plentiful. Parents can apply for benefits directly through the government or choose stater resources. Look at for help. There are several maternal health benefits, support services for mothers, nutritional programs, and state services. 


  1. What documents do I need to provide for my child’s identity?
  1. Government agencies are flexible in newborn documentation as long as there is enough info to identify the child. Medical and religious records are also acceptable.
  1. What is the cost?
  1. There never is a charge for issuing a SS number or card. If someone calls and asks for money for issuance and processing fees, these are predators. Hang up immediately and report the instance. 
  1. What is the most convenient way to contact the Social Security Administration?
  1. The easiest way to communicate with the federal government is online. The government’s website lets you check eligibility and apply for benefits.
  2. How do I look up my child’s social security number?
  3. Parents often wish to check a child’s social security number to find out the benefits status; again, head to the online SSA portal for information. You can learn a host of valuable info from the site.

Protect Your Newborn’s Social Security Number

There is no more straightforward scam than predators stealing a newborn’s social security number and creating new identities and finance accounts. The SS number for newborns is a clean slate. If parents feel their child’s number is compromised, it is possible to block electronic access.

Child identity theft is one of the most prevalent scams involving a newborn. Identity theft can cause years of heartache for parents and, eventually, the child. Credit card accounts are opened, loans are taken out, and medical benefits are applied for and used. 

Newborn identity theft can go undetected for years, while predators damage credit beyond repair. The theft will only be discovered when the credit actions are rejected.

What Are the Warning Signs?

Parents may have no reason to monitor their child’s number and no reason to suspect identity thieves may create an entire credit file. There are signals to watch for, and the FTC lists several warning signs.

  • Pre-approved credit card offers begin filling the mailbox. These offers mean the child’s social security number has a file and is actively being used. 
  • One of the first actions parents take is to apply for government benefits. However, these benefits may be turned down or completely ignored as time passes. Parents may discover benefits are being paid to another account. 
  • Calls and letters of unpaid bills begin showing up, demanding past due bills are paid. The bills may show up with unrecognized names and account details. 

Protecting your child’s Identity, especially their Social Security number, is vital. It is better to think in terms of prevention rather than reaction. Avoid sharing vital information about the child, and if you must, ask; what safeguards are being used. Always keep documentation and SS cards in a safe place. Shred shared papers rather than throwing them away.

Protect Your Child’s Future

Take immediate action if a breach has occurred. Use the information from above and report any fraud to the three bureaus and government offices. The quicker parents can identify the warning signs, the better the long-term consequences. 

Take care of your child’s future.

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