Identification Number:
RM 10211 TN 40
Intended Audience:
Originating Office:ORDP OISP
Title:Alien Evidence for an SSN
Type:POMS Full Transmittals
Program:Records Maintenance (Earnings & Enumeration)
Link To Reference:


Part RM – Records Maintenance

Chapter 102 – The Social Security Number, Policy and General Procedures

Subchapter 11 – Alien Evidence for an SSN

Transmittal No. 40, 02/07/2023

Originating Component


Effective Date

Upon Receipt


Currently, in order for non-citizens to receive a non-work SSN, the individual must provide a letter from the benefit granting agency noting the non-work reason. The benefit letter must be an original from a government entity, dated on agency letterhead, meet benefit requirements, and must have a wet signature of the authorized management official. The POMS is being updated to allow for a management designated official to be listed in addition to the management official. The addition of a management designated official will provide an additional means for agencies to have a wet signature on the benefit granting letter.

Summary of Changes

RM 10211.600 Requests for an SSN from an Alien without Work Authorization

  • Subsection A - We made minor grammatical changes throughout the section.

  • Subsection A3.a

    • Added "management designee" in addition to "member of management" as a signatory on the form letter.

    • Added "file" after "precedent" for clarification.

  • Subsection A3.b

    • Added "agency" for clarification.

    • Added "management" to "official" for clarification. Modified language to incorporate "management designee."

RM 10211.600 Requests for an SSN from an Alien without Work Authorization

SSA will not assign an SSN to an alien who is illegally residing in the U.S. or currently in lawful immigration status in the U.S., but does not have Department of Homeland Security (DHS) work authorization, unless the alien has a valid nonwork reason for an SSN.

A. Evidence requirements for obtaining an SSN for nonwork purposes

Evaluate evidence for nonwork SSN applications.

1. Establish a valid nonwork reason

The only valid nonwork reasons are:

  • a federal statute or regulation requires the alien (who resides in or outside of the United States) to provide his or her SSN to get a federally-funded benefit to which he or she has otherwise established entitlement and for which all other requirements have been met; or

  • a state or local law requires the alien (who is legally in the U.S.) to provide his or her SSN to get public assistance benefits to which the alien has otherwise established entitlement and for which all other requirements have been met.

2. Document a nonwork SSN

To obtain an SSN for a nonwork purpose, the alien must provide:

  • evidence of age, identity, and current alien status; and

  • a letter from the appropriate government entity that explains the need for the SSN.

NOTE: If the alien resides outside the U.S. and requests an SSN at a Foreign Service Post, he or she does not need to provide evidence of alien status.

3. Evaluate evidence to establish the need for an SSN

Obtain an original letter or form letter from the government entity to document a valid nonwork reason. Most government entities use a form letter to facilitate processing the large number of requests they receive.

Administration of qualifying programs varies by state. In some states, the qualifying program is administered by a state agency, while in other states, the agency with authority over the qualifying program delegates the day-to-day program administration to county offices.

NOTE: Verify any questionable letters with the issuing agency.

a. Establish a precedent file for the authorized management official or management designee for signing documentation (i.e., original letters and forms) of valid nonwork reasons

Before accepting an original letter or form that documents a valid nonwork reason, the FO must contact the government entity to establish a precedent file for the official(s) with the authority to sign letters and forms that document valid nonwork reasons:

  • The signatory on the form letter must be a member of management or a management designee.

  • The FO must establish a precedent file and accept only the precedent signature for documenting nonwork reasons.

  • Should the official leave his or her position, the FO must establish another precedent file with the new staff management official or management designee.

b. Accept only letters that meet SSA criteria

The letter or form letter from the government entity to document a valid nonwork reason:

  • must be dated and on agency letterhead;

  • must specifically identify the alien, the nonwork reason an SSN is required, the relevant statute or regulation requiring the SSN as a condition to receive the benefit or service, and the name and telephone number of an official to contact so that the information provided may be verified;

  • must state that the alien meets all the requirements to receive the benefit or service, except for an SSN; and

  • must have the wet signature of the authorized management official or management designee for the government entity. For additional requirements on establishing an FO precedent file for the authorized official, see RM 10211.600A.3.a in this section.

NOTE: The FO may only accept documentation for a valid nonwork reason that meets all the criteria.

IMPORTANT: Consult regional instructions for information on special requirements in your region.

For information on valid reasons for SSA to assign an SSN, see RM 10211.610.

For examples of invalid nonwork reasons, see RM 10211.615.

B. Title II and Title XVI documentation

If the applicant alleges entitlement to Title II or Title XVI (or both) benefits, access the MBR and SSID to verify the alleged entitlement to either or both programs. For only Title II entitlement, SSNAP requires a claim number in the Account Number field of the Non-Work Reason and Documentation section of the Proof of Legal Alien Status screen. SSNAP does not require an account number to document Title XVI entitlement.

C. References

  • RM 10205.210, When an Applicant Requests a Receipt for Filing an Application for an SSN Card

  • RM 10211.500, Evidence for an SSN Card for an Undocumented Alien

  • GN 03340.000, Access to SSA Data – Disclosure – Table of Contents

  • RM 10225.005, Requests for Social Security Number (SSN) Printouts

  • GN 03325.025, Request for Numident Printouts

  • RM 10215.110, Policy on Providing Written Notice and Second Review When SSN or Card Cannot be Issued

RM 10211 TN 40 - Alien Evidence for an SSN - 2/07/2023