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What Do You Do If Your Application for a FAFSA PIN is Rejected?

Mark Kantrowitz

October 24, 2011

Fixing Social Security Number Mismatches

Resubmitting the PIN application with the correct Social Security Number, legal name and date of birth will address the most common errors.

If all of the information is an exact match, the student will need to contact the Social Security Administration to find out why the student’s information failed the match. Sometimes this is caused by an error in the database (e.g., wrong date of birth) and sometimes because of identity theft.

If the problem is due to an error in the Social Security Administration’s database, the student will need to visit a local or regional office of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to correct the problem. Call 1-800-772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov to find the local Social Security Administration office. The US Department of Education cannot correct errors in Social Security Administration records. The Social Security Administration database must be updated or the PIN application will continue to be rejected.

The PIN application can also be rejected if the Social Security Number is already in use. If a FAFSA involves the same Social Security Number and the same first two letters of the last name as another student, it is assumed to be a duplicate application. If the Social Security Number is already in use by another student, but you are the correct owner of the Social Security Number, you will need to obtain a correction application by calling the US Department of Education at 1-319-665-7101.

If you filed the FAFSA with an incorrect Social Security Number, you will need to file a new FAFSA using the correct Social Security Number. The college will not be able to disburse financial aid if the Social Security Number does not pass a data match with the Social Security Administration.

If you reside in the Pacific Islands, a recent change in the assignment of new Social Security Numbers will affect your identification number for the FAFSA. Pacific Islanders do not have Social Security Numbers. Previously they were assigned pseudo Social Security Numbers that began with the 888 prefix. Since June 25, 2011, the Social Security Administration has begun assigning Social Security Numbers that begin with the digit ‘8’, creating a potential conflict. Students with Social Security Numbers that begin with the 888 prefix may encounter problems and should contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).


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