This Social Security randomization took effect on June 25, 2011. This new method of issuance eliminated the geographical need for the area numbers, as it is no longer needed to allocate the Social Security number based on a person’s location. It also opened up those previously unused area numbers of 000, 666, and 900-999.
It’s important to note that while the randomization method of issuing Social Security numbers opened up the previously unused area numbers for use, it did not change the fact that the 2-digit group number will never be 00. It also didn’t change that the last four digits of the Social Security number will never be 0000. Any Social Security number with a 00-group number or 0000-serial number will be an invalid Social Security number.
While this change to the randomization method took place over 7 years ago, the current effects to the payroll industry have been minimal. A majority of people who are working were issued their Social Security number before the randomization method took effect, so it would be very rare that a business owner or payroll professional would see a Social Security number beginning with those unused area numbers (000, 666, and 900-999). However, numbers that begin with these area numbers are out there. If you see a Social Security number beginning in any of these area numbers, it’s a good practice to research further. Only in situations of the Social Security Administration issuing someone a new number since 2011 would we see an adult with a Social Security number beginning with these unused area numbers. While those situations are rare, there are circumstances in which it could occur.