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Replace Social Security Card - How to Replace Social Security Card

how to replace your card

Your Social Security card is one of the most important documents you possess. The Social Security system and Social Security card were implemented in 1936 as a part of the New Deal social security program. The Social Security number is a unique number that is issued to persons living in the United States. The number is assigned for life and its basic use is tracking each individual’s account in the tax system. You must have a Social Security Number to hold a job, fill out tax forms, and receive Medicare and disability benefits. Parents are required to have a valid Social Security Number for each child over the age of five if they intend to claim them on their tax return.

Reasons to Replace a Social Security Card

There are several reasons that will require you to replace your Social Security Card. The most obvious reasons are losing your card or having it stolen. However, there are other reasons for replacement. Any legal name change requires that you apply for a new card. You will not be issued a new Social Security Number, but a new card is required for identification purposes. For example, if you get married and take your spouse’s last name for your legal name, you must apply for a new card. The same rule applies in cases of divorce or annulment.

People with noncitizen status may be required to apply for a Social Security Number and card. This may be necessary if they intend to work in the United States. They will need to reapply for a new card if their citizenship status changes.

How To Replace Your Card

You will need to fill out form SS-5, which is available at any United States Post Office. You may also download and print the form from the Social Security Administration web site, located at http://www.socialsecurity.gov. You will find other pertinent and interesting information at the site, also. After filling out the application, you will need several other documents to send with it. You will need to supply proof of your citizenship. This could be a copy of your birth certificate, a U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization, or Certificate of Citizenship. Photocopies of these documents are not allowed. These will either need to be the original document or a certified copy of the document from the issuing agency. All documents sent with the Social Security Card application will be returned to you.

You will also need to supply proof of age and identity. This is accomplished by sending certified copies of your United States driver’s license, a state-issued non-driver identity card, or your United States passport. If you don’t have any of these proofs of identity, you may be asked to supply one of the following:
• Employee ID card;
• School ID card;
• Health insurance card (your Medicare card is not acceptable);
• U.S. military ID card; or
• Adoption decree.

If you are applying for a replacement Social Security card because of a legal name change, you will need to supply the following:
• Marriage document;
• Divorce decree;
• Copy of Court ordered name change; or
• Certificate of Naturalization showing a name change.

After you have completed the application and gathered your documents, you will need to submit them to your state’s Social Security Administration office. Most states will allow you to either mail them in or submit them in person. Some states, however, will require that you submit them in person. Check with you state’s Social Security office for submission instructions.

Social Security card replacement is free; however, there are limitations on the number of times that you may replace it. You may request a replacement card up to three times a year, with a lifetime limit of ten times. Certain replacements may not count toward these limits. An example is replacement due to a name change, such as marriage or divorce.

If you are requesting a Social Security card replacement because it was lost or stolen, you should notify the Social Security Administration immediately, as well as your bank, credit card issuers, and loan companies. Your card might be used for fraud and you need to protect yourself against identity theft.

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