Ask users for…
Social security or VA file numberUse: Deployed
When to use this pattern
- When you need to collect a person’s Social Security or VA file number. For example, for an application for identity purposes.
How to design and build
How this pattern works
A Social Security Number (SSN) consists of nine digits, commonly written as three fields separated by hyphens: AAA-GG-SSSS. The first three-digit field is called the “area number”. The central, two-digit field is called the “group number”. The final, four-digit field is called the “serial number”.
A VA file number is how a Veteran’s claim is tracked through the compensation system and how documents and other evidence are associated with a Veteran’s file in the VA’s electronic database.
- Use a single text input for each field.
- Do not abbreviate. Use ‘Social Security number’. Do not use abbreviations, such as SSN.
- When asking for both Social Security and VA file numbers, one or the other may be provided. VA file numbers are not on every form.If the form asks for a Social Security number and VA file number make sure to note in the VA file number label or helper text, “must have this or a Social Security number”.
- Mask Social Security number by default. All but the last 4 numbers are masked when input loses focus. When input is in focus, the input shows the valid numbers.
- Give user flexibility in entering their Social Security number. A user can enter the Social Security number however they like: with spaces, without spaces, dashes, or without dashes. When the user enters their number and the input loses focus, the number will appear masked with dashes.
- Validate Social Security numbers. See content considerations for the appropriate validation messages.
Error message templates for Social Security number and VA file number:
If nothing is entered for Social Security number
Say ‘Please enter a Social Security number’
When a a Social Security number is entered incorrectly
Say ‘Please enter a valid 9 digit Social Security number (dashes allowed)’
If nothing is entered for VA file number
Say ‘Please enter a VA file number’
When a VA file number is entered incorrectly
Say ‘Your VA file number must be between 7 to 9 digits’