Things You Should Know About Your Child’s Social Security Number

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Things You Should Know About Your Child's Social Security Number As the school year comes to an end, we are faced with lots of things that require a new registration for our children. As a victim of identity theft (from my own apartment complex registration) I no longer give our social security numbers to anyone. As parents, it’s our job to protect our children in every way possible. This includes their identities as well.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that this happens far too much. Children owe thousands of dollars in debt because someone stole their identities. People can get government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live. The best thing you can do is know your rights when it comes to handing your social security card over.

Many parents think that if they ask for it, they must need it.


You don’t have to surrender your child’s Social Security number to anyone you don’t want to. There are only rare circumstances that it is required. Here are a few that you most certainly should say NO to.

Do you have to give your child’s social security number?

  1. School’s – When you register your child for school (Public or Private) they ask for it on the million forms you have to fill out. It is not required or needed for ANYTHING that a school would need to do. All you have to do is sign a consent form letting them know that you don’t wish to surrender it and they are completely fine with it. 
  2. Summer Camps, Classes, and Little Leagues – This should be a given. There is no reason that any activity your child attends whether it’s a dance class, art class, sports team or camp that they would need your child’s social.
  3. Doctor’s Offices – There are some instances where your doctor’s office might need your social to verify your insurance, but generally that is only when a problem arises. The way I handle this is leaving the section blank and letting them know you do not carry the card on you. Then let them know if they need it for verification they can contact you at that time.
  4. Rental Agreements for You – If you are a renter and you are asked about your social as well as the social of your children I would ask for a written statement as to why they need your child’s and let them know you would prefer only to list yours. (As I mentioned my identity was stolen by an office employee that had access to it) Your children can’t default on a payment, so there is no reason to have it.
  5. Leave it locked up – NEVER carry your social security cards with you. If your wallet is lost or stolen not only do they have your Social Security Number, but they have your address. The only things needed to get started applying for anything they want.
  6. Check the whole family’s credit– You can pull a report for free every year at Do it for every member of your family to make sure no suspicious activity has occurred.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think the best rule of thumb to remember is to ask yourself and the person requesting the social security number, Why do you need it? If they don’t have a valid reason, do not give it to them. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t even know why they request it. So keep it out of their hands. It only takes one dishonest employee to ruin your child’s credit for the rest of their lives, and it’s not an easy process to reverse. I hope these tips help.

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  1. We never give the kid’s numbers out. One other important thing that we did when we adopted our daughter was to change her SS number and we’ll insist on the same thing if we adopt again.

  2. I’ve been accidentally doing the doctor one- that is, I really do not have his SS# memorized & I don’t carry it so I am always apologizing for not having it at Dr. appointments. That said, I now intend on continuing to do that, but intentionally now.

  3. Because we immigrated to the US and originally entered through my husband’s work visa, my daughter wasn’t able to get a Social Security number when we first crossed the border So on all paperwork I always left it blank, and surprisingly enough no one ever asked me to fill it out when I did.

  4. Great advice! I have the same concerns about my children’s SSN. When I registered them for school, I signed the consent forms and got quite a few raised eyebrows. One school administrator told me I was the only parent who did that. I don’t give their SSN at doctor’s offices, either.

  5. I remember reading in a magazine a few years ago about not giving it out so I stopped putting it down just about everywhere. I think I’ve only had someone ask me about that once and I just said I don’t give it out and they left it alone.

  6. We applied for a rental last month and they wanted both the girl’s socials. I found it so strange. They wouldn’t budge so we didn’t apply to live there.

  7. I don’t carry mine or my son’s with me, but I didn’t know you could refuse to give it, though. Nice to know! And… I use to know someone that had they’re utilities/phone cut off for not paying their bills and got them turned back on in their very young child’s name using his ss#. They ruined that child’s credit before he was even in elementary school. True story. This was many years ago. 🙁

  8. My 4 year old has started getting mail from direct marketing firms and magazine subscriptions. This just freaks me out and makes me wonder how her information is even floating around out there as eligible for any of that stuff.

  9. Excellent advice. I have only been asked for my kids’ SSNs on a few occasions. I have always been very protective of the information, but I must admit that I often fall into the trap of giving it out without thinking first. Thank you for the reminder to avoid that trap.

  10. This is great advice. I was an insurance agent and TECHNICALLY you can even avoid giving your SSN to your insurance company (for kids, anyway). At least, that was the case two years ago when I was working!

  11. I was always under the impression we had to include it for all the above. I’m glad to know that there’s really no need for them to have it. I’m always leery about putting our SS on rental applications since they can collect dozens and then just toss your info somewhere.

  12. As a previous bank employee the only other thing I would add, is you can get a FREE report annually from each of the major credit reporting companies. Just contact them directly-not online.


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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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