Follow-up on Internal Controls over the Processing of Social Security Number Cards (Limited Distribution) (A-15-06-16087)

Our objective was to determine the status of corrective actions the Social Security Administration (SSA) has taken to address the recommendations in our January 2004 report, Internal Control Review over the Processing of Social Security Number Cards.

The Social Security number (SSN) was created in 1936 as a means of tracking workers' earnings and eligibility for Social Security benefits.  Over the years, the SSN has become a de facto national identifier used by Federal agencies, State and local governments, and private organizations.  The expanded use of the SSN provides a tempting motive for unscrupulous individuals to acquire an SSN and use it for illegal purposes.  In Fiscal Year 2005, SSA issued over 17 million original and replacement SSN cards. 

The SSN cards are printed at SSA’s National Computer Center (NCC) located in Baltimore, Maryland.  The Production Scheduling Control and Distribution Branch within the Office of Telecommunications and Systems Operations is responsible for printing the SSN cards. 

Our previous report identified several internal control weaknesses over the printing and mailing of SSN cards.  We made several recommendations to strengthen these controls.  We found that SSA did not implement some of our previous recommendations.  Therefore, we reiterated the need for SSA to continue its efforts to implement previous report recommendations.  In addition,  we made four recommendations in this report.

SSA agreed with our recommendations.

This report contains restricted information for official use.  Distribution is limited to authorized officials.