Partial Social Security Number

When is it mandatory for the government to collect part of my Social Security number?

The federal law that gives you protection and requires government entities to provide you with a special notice when they collect your Social Security number (SSN) does not apply when a Minnesota government entity wants to collect only part of your SSN.

Minnesota law says that the collection and use of data must be necessary to administer or manage a program specifically authorized by law.  (Minnesota Statutes, section 13.05, subdivision 3.)  So, if a Minnesota government entity determines that collecting part of your SSN is necessary, it can require you to provide your partial SSN if you want a service or benefit from the entity. 

When is the government’s collection voluntary?

If a Minnesota government entity asks you for part of your SSN, you may choose not to give it to the entity.  However, the entity can decide not to provide you with a service or benefit if collecting part of your SSN is necessary under Minnesota Statutes, section 13.05, subdivision 3.

What information is a Minnesota government entity required to give you?

Your SSN, or part of your SSN, is private data under Minnesota Statutes, section 13.355.  This means that a government entity cannot release any part of your SSN to the public.  This also means that when the entity asks you for any part of your SSN, it must give you a notice (either verbal or written) about issues related to collecting and using your SSN.  This notice is often referred to as a Tennessen warning.  The entity must provide you with the following information:

  • The purpose and intended use of your SSN
  • Whether you can refuse or are legally required to provide your SSN
  • The known consequences of supplying or refusing to supply your SSN
  • The entities or persons outside the collecting entity with statutorily authorized access to your SSN

(Minnesota Statutes, section 13.04, subdivision 2.)