In the USA you need a social security number to open a bank account, get a credit card or drivers licence, buy a car and apply for health insurance. And of course you need it to for employment purposes and for filing tax returns.
It is the main source of ID in this country and if you are an H4 you can’t have one. No, really, no, no, no. Not even the third category of SSN, the “non-work card”.
Your H1 spouse can have one and the idea is that you benefit from his or her privileges by default. Or via osmosis or something because you ain’t going to get anything more official than that in the near future.
- Department of Social Security (just in case you want to look into the osmosis thing)
- ImmiHelp.com’s SSN page (this isn’t an official site but includes lots of good info about many immigration issues)