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Social Security Issued TWO Cards to Thousands of Noncitizens


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Feb. 11, 2013

The Social Security Administration Inspector General has found that 4,317 people were able to obtain two Social Security numbers — even though none of them were American citizens.

“We identified 4,317 instances where the Numident record of two SSNs assigned to noncitizens contained matching first, middle, and last names; dates and places of birth; gender; and fathers’ and mothers’ names,” the Inspector General (IG) reported.

Numident stands for Numerical Identification System and is the master file of applications for Social Security numbers.

The errors occurred between 1981 and 2011 because the SSA did not cross-check the names of the people applying for an additional Social Security number.

“In each case, SSA had not cross-referred the records, indicating that SSA either was not aware it assigned two SSNs to the same noncitizen or it believed the number-holders were not actually the same person.”

The IG launched an audit after a noncitizen was convicted of defrauding the government out of $55,000 in Social Security and federal housing payments by using two Social Security numbers. The IG report said: “The individual concealed her earnings by obtaining and using two SSNs, one for employment purposes and the other to obtain low-income benefits through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and SSA.”

The IG found 514 cases where noncitizens had reported work under both numbers, making them appear eligible to receive twice as much in federal benefits. In 80 of those cases, at least 10 years of earnings had been reported under both numbers.

Incredibly, most multiple cards were issued by the same office. In nearly half of those cases, the second card was issued less than a week after the first card, including 251 on the same day, despite the use of duplicate information.

In 58 cases, the SSA issued two cards despite the fact that both applications contained the same Alien Registration Number (ARN), the identifier issued to noncitizens.

“SSA controls designed to prevent issuance of multiple SSNs to noncitizens have been effective at preventing these occurrences, and the number of such cases has declined significantly over the past 30 years,” the report concluded. “However, SSA’s records indicated that, on occasion, the controls did not prevent the unauthorized issuance of multiple SSNs to noncitizens.

“Noncitizens who obtain multiple SSNs have used, or could use, the SSNs to defraud federal benefit programs.”