The Social Security Administration currently provides a table,
updated monthly, which shows the assigned states and issuance range for the
first five digits of the SSN. These numbers are known as the High Group List.
Effective on or about June 25, 2011, the High Group List will no longer be
updated. On that date all SSNs will be assigned on a purely random
basis. While the High Group List will remain online, after that date
the potential exists for any possible SSN to be assigned at any location across
the country. This randomization will also affect the Enumeration and Entry
applicants and the Railroad Retirement Board - all applicants will receive a
number at random from the entire range of SSNs.
For more information go to www.ssa.gov/employer/randomization.html.
The reasons given for this discontinuation of the High Group
List are to fight ID theft and because the SSA is running out of numbers. In
this author's eyes, this is unfortunate because the verification of the validity
of the first five digits of an assigned SSN is an extremely useful tool to those
professions and entities who are fighting fraud and false IDs. Also, the
validation of a SSN prior to an offer of employment (opposed to after the hire)
has been an integral part in today's employment screening process.
The SSA will still provide opportunities for direct name based
SSN verification. Internet based verification services include the SSA's Social Security Number
Verification Service for employers, eVerify, and the SSA's
Verification Service. There are stipulations. For example, the cost for this
latter service is $5,000 to sign-up and $5.00 per verification.
Federal and State Agencies will continue to have several SSN
verification systems available to them such as those outlined at www.ssa.gov/gix/eprojects.html.