Social Security Information

Social Security Information

The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) is an agency of the U.S. government that administers Social Security, a program providing retirement, disability and survivors benefits. In order to qualify for benefits, most American workers pay Social Security taxes on their earnings.

A Social Security Number (SSN) is intended only for employment purposes. It is a taxpayer identification number. A Social Security Number and card does not constitute permission to work. It is not proof of citizenship or residency.

How to get a Social Security Number
In order to receive a SSN and card, non-residents must demonstrate they have been offered legal employment. This usually comes in the form of an official offer of employment from an employer. Students must also provide a letter of eligibility from their school DSO. Students who are not employed will not be able to get a SSN.

In the past, the Social Security Number has been used for many purposes; credit card applications, bank accounts, purchasing cell phone plans, cable contracts, leasing homes, drivers’ license applications, etc. A SSN can no longer be used for these purposes and you may be asked by a service provider or landlord to provide a letter of non-eligibility in order to receive a service or complete an application.

If you are hired for a job, on or off campus, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number. You cannot be paid until a number has been provided to your employer. Your SSN will be used to file your tax returns each year, which is required by law. Once you have been assigned your SSN it will remain with you permanently and may be used on future visits to the U.S.

Workers in the United States pay a FICA tax. FICA is the tax collection mechanism for the Social Security Administration. FICA provides the funds for the Social Security Administrations programs. Both employees and employers contribute to FICA taxes. Currently the FICA tax to employees is 7.65% of earnings.

Employers automatically deduct FICA taxes from their employees paychecks if they are subject to FICA withholding. F-1 students who have been in the U.S. for less than five calendar years are not subject to FICA withholding. If you are employed and your employer withholds FICA taxes, you will need to let them know you are exempt.

Updating Records
Once you have been assigned your SSN, take a copy to the Human Resource Office for your file. If you have a bank account you opened without an SSN, you will need to update the bank records as well.

Dickinson Social Security office
You must go in person to apply for your Social Security Card. Appointments are not necessary, but you must be prepared to wait as service time depends on the daily work load. The Address of the local Dickinson office is:

 265 1st Ave West
Office Hours: Monday-Wednesday - 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday – Friday - Closed

Documents Required
Official Offer of Employment
Letter of Eligibility for Employment from the Center For Multicultural Affairs
Completed Application Form:
Form I-20 or DS-2019
I-94 card
There is no fee.

Social Security Card Application Checklist 

Social Security Card Application


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