According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Number Reduction Plan was implemented by the Department of Defense in order to reduce the number of times that active and retired service personnel must disclose their Social Security numbers (SSNs) when applying for and receiving services. The effort arises from the findings of the 2007 President’s Identity Theft Task Force initiated by President George W. Bush.
According to “Department of Defense (DoD) Social Security Number (SSN) Reduction Plan,” effective August 1, 2012, departmental policies and responsibilities have been established for reducing the use of SSNs by implementing a system of reviews to assess the continued need to collect and store full and truncated SSNs in DoD records. If such uses can be eliminated, they must be. If use of the SSN is an operational necessity, the DoD must justify this and cite approved cases.
To date, the DoD has made several changes. Since 2004, veteran identification cards no longer display veterans' SSNs. The SSNs are removed from or truncated on most VA correspondence. They are no longer allowed on VA prescription labels, bottles or mailing labels. Currently, the Veterans Administration is working on unique identification for all persons of interest to the VA, such as veterans, beneficiaries, employees, contractors and affiliates.