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The latest conspiracy theory surrounding the validity of Barack Obama's Presidency is his Social Security Number. Some people are claiming that his SSN is a Connecticut SSN, but he never lived there (his Father did though). For example, Orly Taitz claims that:

The social security number [Social Security Number redacted, Doc C.], that [Obama] used most often, was issued in the state of Connecticut to an individual born in 1890. Since Obama never resided in the state of Connecticut and was not born in 1890, it was a sign of clear violation of Title 42 US Code, section 408(a)(7)(B), misuse of a social security number, which is a federal felony punishable under Title 18 USC by fine or imprisonment of up to five years or both and an evidence of foreign birth and lack of proper citizenship status.

She then follows with:

I submitted an affidavit from a licensed investigator Susan Daniels, showing that according to her research Obama used a stolen social security number [Social Security Number redacted, Doc C.], which was issued to another individual born in 1890 in the state of CT.

What proof is there, if any, that his SSN is false?

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@Rusty I believe the straw Orly Taitz and her ilk are grasping at is that if they can prove President Obama committed a crime than he could be impeached under the rubrick of "high crimes", a wonderfully undefined term in our Constitution. Beyond that, the President certainly can be arrested, just like anyone else. The Supreme Court has ruled so. You'll sometimes see it stated otherwise, but that refers to the President being immune from arrest for something he did while discharging the duties of his station. So the Pres can be arrested for drunk driving, but not for signing an unpopular law. –  Scott Hamilton Apr 4 '11 at 17:50
    
@Scott Excellent clarification. Rubrick says it all :) –  Rusty Apr 4 '11 at 19:35
    
@Scott Great comment. Do you know in which case the Supreme Court ruled that the President could be arrested? That would make an interesting reading. –  dbkk Apr 4 '11 at 22:05
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@dbkk I assure you it makes very boring reading. I'm referring to Clinton v. Jones, where sitting President Clinton tried to get all civil proceedings against him delayed until he left office. The Supreme Court's unanimous ruling in a nutshell was that the laws that apply to regular citizens still apply to the President. –  Scott Hamilton Apr 4 '11 at 22:24

1 Answer 1

up vote 36 down vote accepted

I gather that the only possible proof would be the Area Number, and the fact that the number (I assume 04X, like mine) is one associated with Connecticut. The underlying assumptions Taitz is making are that SSN are assigned at birth, and that the Area Number is intimately associated with the state in which you were born.

From the Social Security Administration's official site:

The Area Number is assigned by the geographical region. Prior to 1972, cards were issued in local Social Security offices around the country and the Area Number represented the State in which the card was issued. This did not necessarily have to be the State where the applicant lived, since a person could apply for their card in any Social Security office. Since 1972, when SSA began assigning SSNs and issuing cards centrally from Baltimore, the area number assigned has been based on the ZIP code in the mailing address provided on the application for the original Social Security card. The applicant's mailing address does not have to be the same as their place of residence. Thus, the Area Number does not necessarily represent the State of residence of the applicant, either prior to 1972 or since.

Generally, numbers were assigned beginning in the northeast and moving westward. So people on the east coast have the lowest numbers and those on the west coast have the highest numbers.

Note: One should not make too much of the "geographical code." It is not meant to be any kind of useable geographical information. The numbering scheme was designed in 1936 (before computers) to make it easier for SSA to store the applications in our files in Baltimore since the files were organized by regions as well as alphabetically. It was really just a bookkeeping device for our own internal use and was never intended to be anything more than that.

So depending on when President Obama got his SSN the area number could be based on either the office he was at when he applied for it or the return address on his application. Keeping in mind that in the past people didn't necessarily get a SSN until they actually needed it (usually when they got their first job or applied for the draft), there's a good chance that Obama applied for his sometime after 1972, and possibly during the time when he was at Columbia University in New York City. If that's the case a return address in Connecticut is hardly unlikely or suspicious.

Edited to debunk my own theory...

I've since found a website that has different explanation for how President Obama got a Connecticut number. Documents show Obama received his number in 1977 when he still living in Hawaii, not when he was at Columbia. However, according to The Fogbow:

So how did President Obama get a Social Security number with an Area Code reflecting residence (or mailing address) in Connecticut?

Most likely, this was due to a clerical error. At the time, President Obama lived with his grandparents in an address on Beretania Street. The President’s house in Hawaii was in zip code 96814 and the zip code for Danbury, CT. is 06814. Since the '0' and '9' on a typical typewriter are immediately adjacent (remember, the president's Social Security number was issued in 1977, before the age of computers), it would have been a common error to accidently type a '0' when the ZIP code really began with a '9'. Another possibility is that President Obama, a left-handed 15 year old boy at the time, may have written his own ZIP code in a less-than-fully-legible manner, making the '9' look somewhat like an '0'.

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Of course I post this knowing it will make no difference to those intent on believing the worst about President Obama. The logical fallacies they will employ to protect their preconceived notions can not be swayed by mere facts. –  Scott Hamilton Apr 4 '11 at 17:38
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I can only concur with what Scott has said. As a Connecticut Yankee myself, I have a brother who was born in NH in the 60's yet has a CT SSN like myself. My parents didn't apply for it until he was 3 or 4 years old IIRC, and by that time, they were living in CT. So, depending on where they filed for the SSN (or had the return addy) determines what the beginning #'s of his SSN are - not where he was born. –  Darwy Apr 4 '11 at 21:46
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Thanks, Scott. I totally understand and I agree. I was posting this in an effort to provide Google another search result so that if people go searching to read about some crazy SSN rumor that hopefully they'll land here and read a rational approach to the topic. Thanks! –  Kenny Wyland Apr 4 '11 at 21:50
    
1977 was definitely not "before the age of computers", though computers are just as prone to clerical errors as typewriters so the point is still valid. –  Mark Sep 16 '12 at 21:26
    
There is a lot of guesswork in this "answer." The question is certainly valid and curious and there isn't an authoritative answer given, only speculation. Especially since today a stolen SSN is a serious identity theft issue. Anyone, president or not, with a SSN that wasn't issued in their state is worthy of investigation. –  geoO Nov 21 '12 at 15:06

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