COLUMN: How to get your baby’s Social Security number

By Lisa Wallace
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in North Carolina

Welcoming a baby to your family is an exciting time. Doing paperwork, even for something as
important as a Social Security number for your newborn, is probably one of the last things you
want to do. We’ve made it easy. If your child is born in a hospital, the most convenient way to
apply for a Social Security number is at that hospital before you leave.

When you give information for your child’s birth certificate at the hospital, you’ll be asked
whether you want to apply for a Social Security number for your child. If you answer “yes,” you
will be asked to provide both parents’ Social Security numbers. Even if you don’t know both
parents’ Social Security numbers, you can still apply for a number for your child.

There are many reasons why your child should have a Social Security number. You need a
Social Security number to claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return. You may
also need a number for your child if you plan to do the following for your child:

• Open a bank account.

• Buy savings bonds.

• Get medical coverage.

• Apply for government services.

You can find more information by reading Social Security Numbers for Children at
www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10023.pdf.

Please share this information with people who are having a baby. Applying for a Social Security
number at the hospital will save them time and let them focus on their new bundle of joy.