Social Security Numbers and Cards

3/3

I just changed my name and need to change it with SSA. What documents do I need to mail with my SSN application to get a replacement card with my new name?

Date:

If you recently changed your name (e.g., due to marriage, divorce, other), you must show us proof of legal name change and identity.

NOTE: If the document meets certain criteria, you may only need to mail us your SSN card application and your original or certified name change document. The name change document can be used as both an identity and name change document if it is not a birth certificate and the name change event occurred within the past two years and has the applicant’s prior name and biographical information (such as age, date of birth, or parent’s names), which matches data on our records. This is only for name change situations. For more information, see RM 10212.015D.

Below are examples of acceptable documents for a name change:

  • Proof of Name Change
    • Marriage document
    • Divorce Decree
    • Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name
    • Court order approving the name change
  • Proof of Identity
    • U.S. Driver’s license
    • State issued identity card
    • U.S. passport or U.S. diplomatic passport
    • U.S. Military identification card
    • School identity card or certified copy of school record with biographical information such as DOB, age, etc.
    • Health Insurance or U.S. Medicaid card with biographical information such as DOB, age, etc.
    • Certificate of Citizenship
    • U.S. Indian Tribal ID card
    • Final adoption decree
    • Certified copy of medical record
    • Life insurance policy with biographical information

What if I need to apply for a replacement SSN card and my only option is to mail my application and identity documentation? Since I need my driver’s license (DL) to drive, is there an alternative to mailing my DL, State Identification card or passport?

Date:

Usually, a SSN card applicant must submit the document with the highest quality for proving identity. We call this a primary identity document. In most cases, for a U.S. citizen, this is a State-issued driver’s license. If the primary identity document is not available, (available means the document exists and the applicant can access or obtain it within 10 business days) we would then allow a person to submit an original secondary form of identity.

SSA is temporarily allowing people to mail in an original or certified secondary identity document with their paper Social Security Number application (SS-5) if they cannot request a replacement SSN card online. Acceptable secondary level identity documents must meet the rigorous document evaluation standards for authenticity, and have biographical data such as date of birth, age, etc.

Below are examples of primary and secondary level documents that are acceptable.

  • Primary
    • Driver’s license
    • State issued identity card
    • U.S. passport
  • Secondary
    • U.S. diplomatic passport
    • Military identification card
    • Certificate of Naturalization
    • Certificate of Citizenship
    • U.S. Indian Tribal ID card
    • Final adoption decree
    • Certified copy of medical record
    • Health Insurance or U.S. Medicaid card with biographical information such as DOB, age, etc.
    • School identity card or certified copy of school record with biographical information such as DOB, age, etc.
    • Life insurance policy with biographical information
    • Marriage document

For a list of additional acceptable secondary level identity documents, see chart in RM 10210.420.

How can I get a new or replacement Social Security number card?

Date:

A Social Security number (SSN) is important because you need it to get a job, collect Social Security benefits, and get some other government services. However, please note that you may not need the physical SSN card for many of these services.

New Card Requests

We assign the vast majority of SSNs and issue SSN cards at birth. We will continue to process new card requests through our automated processes for newborns as part of the hospital registration process (we call that process Enumeration at Birth). We will also continue to process SSNs and issue cards for certain lawful immigrants [we call these processes Enumeration at Entry (EAE) and Enumeration beyond Entry (EBE)].

If these automated processes are not available to you, we may schedule an in-office appointment for a new card request in certain situations. Appointment availability is based on available staff and office operating status. Please call your local office to see if an in-office appointment is necessary and possible. To contact your local office, please look for the local office telephone number at Social Security Office Locator under “Social Security Office Information” for the office you select. The toll-free “Office” number is your local office.

Replacement Card Requests

You may be able to request a replacement Social Security card online with your personal my Social Security account, which is easy to set up if you do not already have one. Or, you can ask us for a replacement card by completing and mailing the Social Security card application with your original proof of identity, and proof of age and citizenship if we have not previously confirmed this information, to your local office. We will return your proof(s) to you.

To find out what documents we need to issue a replacement Social Security Number card, please read our fact sheet U.S. Citizen/Adult — Replacement Social Security Card. To update the date of birth in our records, applicants must also submit an original or certified copy of a birth certificate showing the correct date of birth. To update the name in our records, applicants must also submit a recent document that identifies them in both their old and new names. For additional information, please read the instructions on the Social Security card application.

Because we are experiencing slight delays processing mail-in SSN card applications, it may take us between two and four weeks to process the application and return the evidence.

There are certain situations where we may be able to make an in-office appointment to update or correct your SSN information.