Is My Social Security Number Still Good After DACA Program Ends?

Understanding the limits of one's Social Security Number with no underlying DACA status.

Question

I have lived in the U.S. most of my life, but never had a Social Security Number until I got DACA. And now I have a job (though I'm worried what will happen with that, since my employer knows that my work permit will run out soon).

But now that Trump is ending the DACA program, I'm wondering: What happens to my Social Security Number? Is it canceled? If the number is not canceled, and I have to find a new job, why shouldn't I just be able to keep giving my number to employers in order to get a job?

Answer

The answer to this is less clearcut than you might expect.

On the one hand, your Social Security Number (SSN) is yours for life. It will not be canceled or changed if and when the DACA program truly ends. (There's still a chance that Congress will pass legislation creating benefits similar to DACA.)

What's more, the amount your employer deducted from your paycheck and paid into the Social Security system remains on your record, and may create a possibility of benefits for you when you retire or are disabled.

On the other hand, having received your Social Security Number (SSN) through the DACA program, your card probably contains the following text: "VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION."

That means that if you were to find another job, and showed the card to your new employer (in order to fulfill federal legal requirements about documenting your right to work), your employer would no doubt ask to see your work permit (also called an employment authorization document or EAD).

Because you would no longer have an unexpired work permit by then, the employer would not be able to lawfully hire you.

Obviously this is a stressful time for workers who have DACA, and are figuring out how to plan ahead. If you haven't already done so, submit a DACA renewal application as soon as you're allowed to do so. (See "Trump Ends DACA Program for Young Immigrants: What's Next?" for information on the limited renewal timelines; and "How to Renew Your DACA Status" for procedural details.)

And by all means speak to an experienced immigration lawyer about your options. There's a chance you might have become eligible for some other form of lawful status or a green card (lawful permanent residence) during the years you have held DACA.

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