The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

39. Do I have to have a social security number?

ALERT:  Many of the rules in the TAFDC/EAEDC Advocacy Guide do NOT apply during the pandemic. Please go to the following COVID-19 & DTA benefits page: until further notice for more information about changes.

Every EAEDC applicant or recipient has to provide or have applied for a social security number (SSN). You can provide the numbers orally or in writing. You do not have to show any Social Security Cards. 106 C.M.R. § 701.230. DTA will do a computer check to see if the SSN you gave you matches. See DTA Field Operations Memo 2014-12A (October 10, 2014).

EAEDC benefits should not be denied, delayed or decreased if you have verification that you have applied for a SSN or requested that an already-existing SSN be validated.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides this verification in the form of a letter.

If you meet the EAEDC noncitizen eligibility rules but you are unable to qualify for an SSN because of your particular status, you should not be disqualified for EAEDC. See DTA Field Operations Memo 2005-42, p. 2. DTA should use an alternate number until Social Security is able to give you a number.

If you need to apply for an SSN, the DTA office has a special form they will give you (called an ENUM-2) for you to bring to the Social Security office. This form confirms that you have applied for an SSN. If you already have a number, you don't need to go to the Social Security office.

Once you have a SSN, DTA will periodically check your number with the computer files of the Registry of Motor Vehicles (to see if you have any cars 
in your name), the Department of Revenue (to see if there are any unreported earnings), banks and other financial institutions (to see if you have any unreported bank accounts or other assets), as well as a number of other state and federal agencies. You have a right beforehand to know how your SSN will be used.
106 C.M.R. § 701.230(D).

Advocacy Reminders:

  • DTA should not ask questions related to SSNs, if you indicate a reluctance to disclose a SSN due to immigration status.
  • If you are not sure about a number, you can ask Social Security to check the number and provide verification of your request to DTA. You can get EAEDC while Social Security is checking.

                                DTA Policy Guidance:

DTA Online Guide:
EAEDC > General Nonfinancial Requirements > SSN > Overview of Social Security Numbers

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