Social Security Numbers

The Federal Privacy Act of 1974 (Public law 93-579)
5 U.S. Code Section 552a
Enacted effective September 27, 1975
Section 7:
"It shall be unlawful for any Federal, State or local government agency to deny to any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law because of such individual's refusal to disclose his social security account number."
"The provisions of paragraph 1 shall not apply with respect to --A) any disclosure which is required by Federal statute, or B) the disclosure of a social secuity number to any Federal, State, or local agency maintaining a system of records in existence and operating before January 1, 1975, if such disclosure was required under statute or regulation adopted prior to such date to verify the identity of an individual."
"Any Federal, State, or local government agency which requests an idividual to disclose his social security account number shall inform that individual whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority such number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it."


Private Industry Use

The following text is taken directly from the Social Security Administration website:
"Private industry (other than your employer) and some organizations use
Social Security numbers to keep records.
If someone asks for your number, you can refuse to give it to them.
However, your purchase or service may be denied.
Federal law does not require or prohibit this use of the number. Giving
your Social Security number is a personal matter between you and the
person who asks for it. But, you should know that no one can get
information from your Social Security record just because he or she
knows your number."
Compilation of Social Security Laws - updated through January 1, 1999
History of Social Security Numbers
Minnesota Legislators attempt to gather SSNs from school children