Social security numbers of the deceased are made available on a database from the Social Security Administration for individuals to use when researching genealogy, says Slate. The numbers are not recycled for use by other individuals.
The Social Security Administration advises that the nine-digit format means there are just slightly under a billion combinations, so reusing numbers is not likely in the foreseeable, says Slate. As of 2003, over 400 million numbers have been handed out, and it's estimated that 300 million individuals are going to need numbers by the year 2050. Unless any unforeseen events arise, the current system could last at least another century. The Social Security Administration issues more than 5 million new numbers a year, according to the Social Security Administration.
Numbers of deceased individuals are made public through the Social Security Administration and genealogy services. The Social Security Death Index database begins with people whose deaths were reported to Social Security after 1962, according to the Social Security Administration. There are a few deaths listed before 1962. Due to regulations enacted in 2014, new entries in the index are not available for three years after an individual has passed, according to the Social Security Administration.