If you’ve misplaced your Social Security card, have a legal name change or believe it may have been stolen, you’ll need to know how to report it lost or stolen and replace your card. Thankfully, obtaining a new social security card is a free and relatively simple process. You can replace your card up to 3 times in a single year, and up to 10 times throughout your lifetime.
The process of getting a new social security card only consists of a few steps – getting documents, filling out a brief application, and visiting your local SSA office. The following steps are for obtaining a new card in person at your local SSA office.
How to Replace a Social Security Card at the SSA Office
Step 1: Gather the Required Documents
The first thing you’ll need to do is gather the necessary documents. These will need to be the original documents or copies that have been certified by the agency that issued them, as the SSA won’t accept photocopies or notarized copies. These documents are used to verify age, citizenship, and identity. Some appropriate documents include:
- Citizenship: A birth certificate or passport.
- Age: A birth certificate, passport, or hospital report of birth.
- Identity: A driver’s license, state-issued ID, employee ID card, school ID card, military ID card, or passport.
You’ll need to provide at least two separate documents to complete the application. So even though your passport can be used to verify your citizenship, age, and identity, you’ll need to have another supporting document with you.
Step 2: Fill Out the Social Security Card Application
Next, you’ll want to print out and complete the application available on the Social Security Administration website.
Step 3: Visit the SSA Office
Bring the required documents and your completed application to your local SSA office. You can find the office closest to you by using the official office locator on the SSA website.
Can I Complete the Application Process Online?
If you meet all the following requirements, you will be able to complete your request for a new card online. To be eligible, you need to be:
- A U.S. citizen
- Age 18 years or older
- Have a U.S. mailing address
- Have a state-issued driver’s license or identification card from one of these participating states
If you meet all of the requirements above, you can create an account on the SSA website and complete the online process there.
What Should I Do if My Social Security Card Was Stolen?
If you believe your social security card has been stolen, there are a few steps you should take to protect your identity.
Step 1: Contact Your Local Police Department
As with any theft, you should file a police report to make them aware of the incident.
Step 2: Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit File
Since criminals can use your social security number to commit a variety of different crimes, you should contact one of the major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax or Experian, to place a “Fraud Alert” on your file. The agency that you contact will report the alert to the other agencies, so there’s no need for you to contact all three. Fraud alerts remain in place for 90 days, but you can choose to renew it at the end of that period if you feel the need.
Step 3: Report the Theft to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Thieves can use your social security number to file fraudulent tax returns and collect refunds, so it’s important to contact the IRS and make them aware of the situation. You can contact the IRS online or by calling 1 (800) 908-4490.
Step 4: File a Report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Filing a report with the FTC will keep you covered if someone does use your information in the future. Contact them online or by calling 1 (877)-IDTHEFT (877-438-4338).
Step 5: Keep a Close Eye on Your Credit Report
While you should always be monitoring your credit report for fraudulent accounts and mistakes, it’s especially important in the months following the theft of your social security card.
Be on the lookout for new credit cards opened under your name, loans, or other activity that you don’t recognize. If you notice any suspicious activity, don’t wait to report it to the appropriate sources.
You should also consider a product like ScoreSense to keep an eye on all three credit reports and daily monitoring that alerts you to changes or suspicious activity.
What If I Changed My Name?
If you legally changed your name due to marriage, divorce, or other circumstances, you’ll need to replace a social security card with a new one that accurately reflects your new name. If you’re requesting a new card because of a name change, you won’t be able to complete the process online.
You’ll also need to provide documentation of your legal name change with a marriage license or certificate, divorce decree, Certificate of Naturalization with the new name, or a court order showing approval of the name change. The rest of the process remains the same as a normal replacement request.
Receiving Your New Card
It typically takes about 10-14 business days to receive a replacement card from the time your application is processed. Your new card will be mailed directly to the mailing address you provided on your application. You can cut down on the time it takes if you know how to replace a social security card and take the right steps immediately.