Student Support Services

Social Security Number (SSN) Initiative

As a result of the prevalence of identify theft and for privacy reasons, many citizens are concerned about the disclosure and processing of SSNs. In order to protect and limit the use of individual’s SSNs, new laws and policies have been introduced in New York State.

Governor Paterson signed into law Chapter 279 of the Laws of 2008, a bill which considerably strengthened protections to prevent identity theft. The law restricts the use of social security numbers by State agencies and other governmental entities in New York and became effective January 1, 2010.

Chapter 279, Public Officers Law 96-a, prohibits the State from any of the following, unless required by law:

  • Intentionally communicating or making available to the general public an individual’s social security number;
  • Printing an individual’s social security number on any card or tag required for the individual to access products, services or benefits provided by the State and its political subdivisions;
  • Requiring an individual to transmit his or her social security number over the Internet, unless the connection is secure or the number is encrypted;
  • Requiring an individual to use his or her social security number to access a website, unless a password or unique personal identification number or other authentication device is also required for access;
  • Including an individual’s social security number, except its the last four digits, on any materials that are mailed to the individual or sent to him or her in an email that is copied to third parties, except that social security numbers may be included in applications and forms sent by mail, including documents sent as part of an application or enrollment process, or to establish, amend or terminate an account, contract or policy, or to confirm the accuracy of a social security number;
  • Printing a social security number, under any circumstances, in whole or in part, on a postcard or other mailer not requiring an envelope, or visible on an envelope or without the envelope having been opened; and
  • Encoding or embedding a social security number in or on a card or document, including by bar code, chip, magnetic strip, or other technology, where printing a social security number thereon is prohibited under this law.

Any questions, comments, or concerns please contact Annette Franchini, Office of Human Resources Management or Benny Thottam , Office of Information Technology Services


Last Updated: January 4, 2013