All people deserve to live with respect and dignity -- free from
fear. Yet, family violence plagues the lives of millions of Americans,
according to estimates by the Department of Justice. This crime
affects people in all walks of life.
The SSA joins with other Federal agencies to provide greater assistance
to victims of domestic violence. Some victims seeking to elude their
abuser and reduce the risk of further violence choose to establish
a new identity. As part of that effort, it may be helpful to obtain
a new Social Security number (SSN).
How To Apply For A New Social Security Number
- Apply in person at any Social Security Office;
- Take evidence of your age, identity, and U.S. citizenship or
lawful alien status;
- If you have changed your name as the Department of Justice
recommends, take evidence identifying you by both your old and
- If new SSNs are being requested for children, take evidence
showing you have custody; and
- Take any evidence you may have documenting the harassment or
abuse. The Social Security Administration will assist you in obtaining
any additional corroborating evidence, if needed. The best evidence
comes from third parties, such as police, medical facilities or
doctors and describes the nature and extent of the domestic violence.
Other evidence might include court restraining orders, letters
from shelters, letters from family members, friends, counselors,
or others with knowledge of the domestic violence.
Protective Actions Recommended By The Department Of Justice
A new SSN alone cannot protect you, particularly if your original
SSN did not play a role in the domestic violence. There are other
important steps you need to take for personal protection. In addition
to changing your name, you should consider getting an unlisted telephone
number, changing jobs, and moving to a new area/state.
Victims of domestic violence also are encouraged to contact the
national Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free number, 1-800-799-SAFE.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the toll-free "TTY"
number, 1-800-787-3224 .
Protecting Your New SSN
SSA's records are confidential. SSA does not furnish your SSN to
third parties. Therefore, you should be careful about sharing your
SSN unnecessarily with third parties who may not need it to provide
you with a benefit or service.
Questions and Answers Regarding Domestic Violence Policy
Question 1: What will SSA do differently in processing
requests for a new number?
Answer: Previously SSA required the individual
to establish that the abuser had either misused the individual's
SSN or could be expected to misuse it to locate the individual.
Only in cases of extremely severe abuse or endangerment of the persons
life did SSA assume misuse. Now SSA will presume SSN misuse is possible
in all abuse cases.
Question 2: Should a person change his/her name before
contacting SSA for a new number?
Answer: Changing one's name is one of the important
steps a domestic violence victim needs to take for personal protection.
Since SSA assigns an SSN based on the name shown on the identity
document submitted with the application for a number, it is best
that the applicant have a document showing his/her new name.