Hot Spots
My GaramChai

FAQ, Trivia and Information on Life in America: Ask-A-Desi

This section will attempt to address some of the Frequently Asked Questions on Life in the US, Canada and North America that immigrants, visitors and others from different cultures attempt to address. If you have any additional inputs or wish  to see more topics addressed, mail us at

Social Security, in the United States, currently refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. Tip for Immigrants from Social Security Adminstration: Your Payments while you are outside the US: Your payments will continue even if you have been outside the U.S. for more than six full calendar months, if you are a citizen of India, and the worker on whose record your benefits are based lived in the U.S. for at least 10 years or earned at least 40 credits under the U.S. Social Security system. Source: SSA

Social Security Number

For the official version and details of American Social Security system, please visit: and Social Security Office Locator

The US federal government has mandated that all legal residents and citizens must have a valid social security card. The card, with a valid Social Security Number (SSN) is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to track of an individual's yearly wages and taxes owed and employers are required to note this number on the payroll system. A valid social security card may be required for other financial transactions including while opening bank accounts, applying for loans. Some interesting facts include:

Significance of SSN Digit Pattern

The digits in the Social Security Number allow for the orderly assignment of numbers.
The number is divided into three parts:

The area, group and serial numbers.


The first three digits (area) of a person's social security number are determined by the ZIP Code (after some mathematics on it) of the mailing address shown on the application for a social security number. Illinois State issued cards will have a number between 318 to 361. Pennsylvania issued cards will have a number between 159 and 211. Maryland 212 to 220 and so on.

Within each area, the group number (middle two digits) range from 01 to 99 but are not assigned in consecutive order. For administrative reasons, group numbers issued first consist of the ODD numbers from 01 through 09 and then EVEN numbers from 10 through 98, within each area number allocated to a State. After all numbers in-group 98 of a particular area have been issued, the EVEN Groups 02 through 08 are used, followed by ODD Groups 11 through 99.

Within each group, the serial numbers (last four digits) run consecutively from 0001 through 9999.

The Social Security Card should not be laminated; but why?

It should not be laminated because the Social Security card incorporates several security features:

  • The card contains a blue tint marbleized random pattern. Any attempt to erase or remove data is easily detectable because the tint is erasable.
  • Small multi-colored discs are randomly placed on the paper stock and can be seen with the naked eye.
  • Intaglio printing of the type used in US currency is used for some printing on the card and provides a raised effect that can be felt.

A laminated card hampers the ability of the government to utilize these security features. Government will replace your card FREE if in case you lose it.


Social Security 101

Social Security is much more than a retirement program. It is a family income protection program that reflects the commitment of the country to the economic security of workers, retirees and their families.

Social Security protects workers and their families during their working lives and through their retirement. It's the primary source of retirement income for most Americans.

Six out of ten (60 percent) of today's beneficiaries derive more than half of their income from Social Security. In most low-income households of retirement age, Social Security represents 80% or more of their retirement income.

Other Factoids about Social Security:

  • Social Security Hot Topics
  • Social Security system in India
  • Baby's First Number - A Social Security Number
  • Social Security: Almost everyone working in the US pays a part of his/her salary towards a social security fund set up and managed by the Social Security Administration (a wing of the Federal government). The percentage of salary deduction varies, but is generally between six to eight percent. Employers are also required to contribute an equal amount towards social security. The federal government pools this amount collected from individuals (and companies) and holds it in a large fund. People generally become eligible to receive social security benefits when they turn 59, or in some cases, if they lose the ability to earn a living or become disabled. Even foreigners are required to contribute to the social security fund and are eligible to get the benefits. The only catch is that a person becomes eligible to get social security benefits only if they contribute into the system for at least ten years. Many Indians working in the US on H1 visa’s are only eligible to live and work for six years after which they must return back and will not be eligible to receive the social security benefits. - Abstract of Mohan's chapter from e-book



Buy Visitor's Travel Insurance
Get A Quote


Trivia and Questions for Indians and Immigrants in America

General Trivia : Introduction //Dollars and Cents // Social Security Number // About Mail and USPS // Story of The Old Glory // Green Card– Why Not Green? // Telephone Area Codes // Convex Mirrors and Caution // Bankruptcy and Chapter 11 // Radio and TV Broadcasting // Consumerism: Trivia on Wal-Mart. // Retail Trivia // Gas Prices– What's 0.9 Cent? // Roads and Interstate Highways // Road Driving Trivia // Finance 101 // Daylight Saving Time // Trivia on Etiquette

FAQ Disclaimer: All information provided in these FAQ’s is deemed to be accurate by the author.  Due care has been exercised to ensure the veracity of this information and guidelines. However, there may be error (s) and omission (s) and all information is subject to change., and its affiliates do not assume any liability for the information provided herein. The reader is strongly recommended to confirm this information from official sources.

GaramChai © 1999-2008 || Terms of Use