A lot of the people who come to this site are searching with the phrase “Obama’s Social Security Number”; they find me because of this ancient post I did about Orly Taitz. Though she hasn’t been able to convince anyone to indict Obama for identity theft, she’s successfully planted the meme that his identity was partially constructed on the stolen social security number of a man born in 1890; also that there is something deeply suspicious about the fact that the number he was issued (one of many, Taitz claims) was for a Connecticut address.
I always wondered about the Connecticut thing until today, when I stumbled on this explanation at the Fogbow website, which, along with Obama Conspiracy Theories.com, provide the most convincingly comprehensive debunkings of birther claims you’re likely to find in one place:
President Obama’s Social Security number (if he hasn’t been issued a new one since his original one was spread all over the Internet) begins with the digits 042. While this is ordinarily an indication that the number was issued to someone living in Connecticut, the Social Security Administration says:
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.
Orly Taitz recently received, in response to an FOIA request, the SS-5 (Application for Social Security Card) of a man who appears in the Social Security death index with a number just one digit lower than President Obama’s. This man, Thomas Wood, was born in 1962 and died in 1981. The SS-5 showed he had requested his Social Security number on March 21, 1977. President Obama’s number was probably issued the same day. It is perfectly reasonable that a high school sophomore would be requesting a Social Security number in the spring, while getting ready to start a summer job at Baskin Robbins.
The first three digits of a Social Security number at that time were called the “Area Number”. And it’s true that the Area Number 042 is normally issued for people who live in Connecticut (or apply for the Social Security card with a mailing address in Connecticut). President Obama lived in Hawaii in 1977, while attending Punahou School. He attended Punahou from the fifth grade until graduating in 1979, and his first job was at the Baskin Robbins at the corner of King and Punahou Streets in Honolulu.
So how did President Obama get a Social Security number with an Area Number reflecting residence (or mailing address) in Connecticut?
Most likely, this was due to a clerical error. At the time, President Obama was only 15 years old, and 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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