Employment in the U.S. and Social Security Issues
Immigration laws governing the employment benefits for dependents vary from category to category.
F-2,H-4, O-3 and TD dependents cannot work in the U.S. unless they change to a different immigration status (i.e. F-1, J-1, H-1B) which has employment provisions. Unfortunately, since they are not eligible for employment, they cannot apply for a Social Security number (SSN).
J-2 and E-3 dependents are eligible to apply for work authorization to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Detailed information about the application process is provided at J-2 Work Permission. Please keep in mind that the J-2 dependent is able to begin employment only after receiving the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from USCIS which takes approximately 90 days to receive a work permit. Once you receive the EAD card, you can also apply for a SSN at the local Social Security Administration (SSA) office. To apply for a SSN, please go to the SSA office located at 1170 Harvard Way in Reno. Please bring your passport, visa, Form I-94, DS-2019 and EAD card. If you have obtained J-2 status through the change of status procedures, you should also bring the I-797 form; the approval notice from USCIS.