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Help – I Lost My SSN!

Seal of the Social Security Administration, which gives out each social security number ( SSN )

One of my foreign clients received a social security number as a child when he and his parents lived in the US for a year. Unfortunately, he could not find his SSN – which would help him obtain an Employer Identification Number for the corporation I was forming. (See Foreign Company Alert: Obtaining an EIN may be your Biggest Challenge in the U.S.)

He asked whether I could help him retrieve his SSN. Here is what I found.

A clerk told me that the SSN holder must come to a local Social Security Administration office with suitable identification. Office personnel then will look up the SSN. I could not do that for my client. And with him being in Eastern Europe, going to an office in the US was not realistic. (In any event, not before his planned visit several months later.)

One other possibility was that the SSA is represented for benefits payment purposes by Federal Benefits Units in many countries throughout the world. I wasn’t sure that would work, but there was no such Unit in my client’s country, anyway.

So I ended up obtaining an EIN for the corporation with a slightly greater expenditure of time and money than otherwise would have been necessary. The good news is that when my client did eventually visit the US, he was able to confirm his SSN. And that SSN will be his for the rest of his life.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510 547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
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