How to Check a Social Security Number for Validity

by Amie Martin; Updated September 26, 2017

A Social Security Number (SSN) is as identifiable as a fingerprint for an individual. In most cases, if you need to verify someone’s U.S. citizenship specifically or identity in general, you will ask for his SSN. Maybe you’re looking to rent out your guesthouse and want to verify rental applicants, or maybe you’re the human resources manager of a small business or large corporation. Either way, you can validate the SSN of an applicant easily, and you can match the SSN to an individual’s name in a few extra steps with appropriate qualification.

Items you will need

  • Social Security Number
  • Company EIN and corresponding company contact information (to match SSN with name only)
  • Name corresponding to Social Security Number (to match SSN with name only)
Step 1

Enter the SSN number you want to validate into an online validator such as the one listed in Resources. This will give you public information such as whether or not the SSN number is valid, the date of the search, the state in which the SSN was issued, approximate date of issuance, and issuance status (live or dead, for example). If you are running a check for an apartment lease, for instance, this may provide all the information you need, but be sure you know the approximate age of your potential tenant and and the state in which she received her SSN as she may have moved out of state since then.

Step 2

Launch the "Social Security Online: Business Services Online" website and click "Register" to register online with Social Security Number Verification Services to match an SSN with an individual's name (see Resources).

Step 3

Complete the registration form with your company name, address, phone and EIN as prompted, select your password, and wait for the Social Security Administration to verify your information and display your User ID.

Step 4

Record and save your User ID and password for future reference and make note of the expiration date. You can use this for future searches until it expires.

Step 5

Launch the "Social Security Online: Business Services Online" website again and click "Log in." Log in with your User ID and password.

Step 6

Select "Request Access and Activation Code." The activation code will be mailed to the company address matching the EIN you supplied during registration. This information is mailed rather than displayed online for security reasons.

Step 7

Launch the "Social Security Online: Business Services Online" website and click "Log in," then enter the activation code you received in the mail. You can now use the Social Security Administration's Verification Service to match a Social Security Number to an individual's name. You can continue to verify SSNs with names until the expiration date of your login.

About the Author

Amie Martin has more than 20 years of publishing experience in proofreading, editing, writing, design and layout. She writes for various websites, specializing in branding, marketing and technical communications. Martin has an Associate of Applied Science in merchandising from Bay State College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.