General, Social Security Number and Card

How Providing Race and Ethnicity Data Helps All Customers

November 30, 2023 • By

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Last Updated: November 30, 2023

Social Security Administration Logo We are continuously working to improve our understanding of how our programs are serving the public. This work includes collection of race and ethnicity data for research and statistical purposes which helps us determine whether we are equitably serving the public.

The information applicants and customers provide is voluntary and does not affect decisions on benefit applications.

Why does it matter if people provide race and ethnicity data?

When customers choose to provide race and ethnicity information, it lets us know:

  • Who our benefit payments and programs are helping and who may be left out.
  • What unintended barriers may impact benefits and services.
  • Where to expand outreach efforts.
  • How to increase awareness among individuals and families of eligibility for programs and benefits.

In other words, race and ethnicity data can help expand access to our programs, which is one of the objectives in our Equity Action Plan. Examples of how we use this information can be found on our Racial Equity Resources website.

Currently, we collect race and ethnicity information during applications for new or replacement Social Security number (SSN) cards. These applications can be completed through our Online Social Security Number Application or internet Replacement Social Security Card tool, at one of our field offices, or at one of our card centers.

Soon, we will also voluntarily collect this information from parents in participating states during the hospital birth registration process when they request an SSN for their newborn.

We encourage you to provide your race and ethnicity information during your or your child’s application for a new or replacement SSN card so that we may better serve all our current and future customers.

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  1. SteveM

    One of the biggest Misnomer’s in our Society is the fact that people have been inter-marrying with various different race’s than their own. We are a diverse breed, as Human’s and actually find that love is blind…blind to color. If there is going to be the Original 5 Race’s, the figures cannot be accurate today. It is, by far the biggest misnomer to call one Race White, when Hispanic’s are White. What are the other Race’s that are going to fall off the grid, due to inter-marriage, in our Society. When the Children marry, what will they put on the Marriage Certificate, and if they have babies, what will they be classified as? We should eliminate Race, as a Classification, and enter Male, and Female, Citizen or Non-Citizen, Rich, Middle-Class, Poverty Level, and Immigration Origin instead.

    • Ron P.

      Race should never even be mentioned in this sphere of govt. Quite sad, really. Race is interjected into every facet of American life. DEI belongs in the trash can and I’m so glad that more and mire of us, whether corporations, small businesses, or individuals are finding it within themselves to denounce and reject it. All we need now is mass deportation, on an unprecedented scale, even greater than obama took it. That would be helpful. Folks in charge of our SSA need to be more vigilant with dire penalties for anyone committing fraud. Amen.

  2. Martha M.

    I pray for all those who are in a position that are responsible for making sure fair laws are in place to maintain the economic structure of the recipients.

  3. Mitchell S.

    Why do we have an acting commissioner with a name that you can’t announce. This is, I thought the United States! What does it matter what race you are if you’re a U.S. citizen. Why are we paying out to illegal aliens and people that’s never paid in. This was originally designed as a retirement supplement for working people!

    • Martha M.

      What happened along the way? Hmmmm?

  4. Jim M.

    I am sorry but your post is misleading. You state that collecting the data will it effect eligibility. Then you state the following facts that will in fact potentially make changes to the system. These changes will be made to benefit the participants in your survey that SSA decides are under represented. “Barriers” meaning ineligible under current law. This using Executive orders to make policy changes to laws that were put in place by voters. If you really want to find out what language we speak answer the phone more than 1 out of ten times. It won’t matter how may interpreters you have even if that was the motive because you don’t have enough people answering the phones in the first place. Instead of asking us for demographics to find a work around federal laws already in place ask us to write our congressman for more SSA funding.

    Who our benefit payments and programs are helping and who may be left out.
    What unintended barriers may impact benefits and services.
    Where to expand outreach efforts.
    How to increase awareness among individuals and families of eligibility for programs and benefits


      Thank you. Your request is very legitimate.

      • Joshua J.

        I was met with contempt the first time I visited a Social Security office here in Houston, Texas when I first became eligible for benefits. The second time I went to a different office and after waiting in a long line just to turn in my Medicare papers. The line was outside the building, while others went in to take business without waiting, I am doubting they had an appointment. Only to be faced with contempt and mockery after getting in the building and setting for 30 minutes or more. This I left and went to another office out of town in Angleton, Texas I had no problems.

  5. Daniel G.

    That is rich: What we collect “does not affect decisions on benefit applications.” Why are than collecting it? To sell it to other .gov’s so they can change laws/rules allowing you to change the way you make decisions? Any reference to race, ethnicity, gender, education… has a racist intent. Social Security should be above that, should serve the ENTIRE SOCIETY and never spend a dime on unrelated aspects or bring racist statistics into the picture.

  6. Randy

    When one wants to make a point regarding race and ethnicity, they will center only on race and ethnicity to the exclusion of what could be much more significant results.

    • Sherri

      Yes, thank you! So many other issues that may be barriers.

    • Martha M.

      Yup! 🙏❤️


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