The Basics of Replacing Your Social Security Card

A Social Security card is an important piece of identification you will use over and over for the rest of your life. It is needed for employment application, purchase of utilities, basic identification, and taxes. Many memorize their number and file the actual card away for safekeeping. Others keep the card about their person. Should you lose your SSN, or worse yet, have it stolen this can lead to serious problems. Luckily, you have the SSA on your side.

The Social Security Administration is the organization tasked with all things SSN. Should your Social Security card be stolen or lost the SSA can replace it for free. The Social Security Administration has a website and a local field office that can visited. The SSA can also be contacted through mail. Remember, you do not need necessarily need a physical card to use your SSN. All you need is the number. As long as you have your SSN committed to memory you are fine for most things. The only danger is your SSN ending up in the hands of someone else who takes your identity. Also, there are times where the physical card is needed to prove your identity.

New employers usually require a physical copy of your car. This is something every employee has to at one time or another. Mostly, this is because SSNs can be stolen and a physical card is concrete proof of identity. In the case of actual identity theft your SSN card will be necessary to establish your identity and claim any damages.

Individuals have a three card limit every year and a ten card total for their lifetime. In most cases this is more than enough but should you ever be in danger of exceeding this option there are exceptions. The best example is having your name legally changed. You are knocked docked on your count for this. If you have a change in the status of your immigration it does not dock your count. This can be for exiting and entering the country.

How to Get Your New Social Security Card?

There are three basic steps to replacing your social security card:

Step 1: Get Your Documents Together

It goes without saying that you will need paperwork that proves you are you. So the first step in getting a new SSN is by establishing your identity. This will require a bit of a documentation scavenger hunt. You need to gather all original documents or at least certified copies. These copies have to be done by the actual agency that issued them. This means they are notarized copies. Anything less will not be accepted by the SSA. You do not have to find all the paperwork just a few corroborating documents. The purpose of this paperwork is used to prove the following information:

– Your Citizenship: You have to have proof of U.S. citizenship. Naturally, if you are not a U.S. citizen you cannot have a SSN. So find your U.S. birth certificate or passport. Either one will work fine.

– Age: Only individuals over the age of 18 can get a replacement SSN. So you have to show proof of age. This can be done with a birth certificate, a birth record from a U.S. hospital, a U.S. passport, or even religious record documented sometime before you were five. The religious record has to show your date of birth.

– Identity: Above all you have to prove who your are. Identity can be proven with a U.S. driver’s license, state-issued ID card, U.S. passport, employee ID, school ID, military ID, or even your health insurance card. As long as it has your name with a corresponding picture you are in the clear.

Now this is the most tedious portion of replacing your SSN. If you are fastidious and keep important documents together that makes the process easier. However, if you have copies of the actual documents you will have to endure a little legwork. The documents you gather must be up-to-date. The SSA will not accept expired documents. You also cannot use application receipts for these documents. You have to have the actual document and it has to be active.

Step 2: Apply Online

Application is easy. All you have to do is fill out a form. The Social Security card application form. You have to use the documents you have gathered to finish it. If you are applying online you also have to create a SSA account. This will save your information which makes reapplying easy. Once you create the account you can fill out the application form. For online applications your documents will have to be uploaded.

Step 3: Visit the Local SSA Office

As online applications can satisfy every requirement this step might not be necessary. In some cases, however, the SSA will need a little more from you. So if you bypass the internet altogether or have a special circumstance you will need to print your form out and take it to a SSA office. Your application will also need to be accompanied whatever original documents you acquired. You can use the internet to locate the nearest SSA office to your location. The staff there will be more than ready to help you finish your application.

Getting Your Replacement Social Security Card Online

As mentioned above it is possible to get a Social Security Card online. This an only happen if you are a U.S. citizen and around 18 years or age. You also have to have a legal U.S. mailing address. Online applications require the same basic documents such as a driver’s license or state-issued ID. Online services are not available in every state. The SSA website will inform you of any restrictions, however. If you have all the necessary requirements all you need to do is simply create your SSA account and fill out the form. You can request a card and then wait for its arrival without setting foot in a physical SSA office.

Common Questions

Can I Replace A Social Security Card on the Same Day?

No you can not get a replacement card on the same day as you lost it. Online application is the fastest way to replace your Social Security card. It can be done from the comfort of your home at any time. A local SSA office will process your request and eventually deliver the car. To find out how long the process takes all you have to do is call and ask them. Some orders process faster than others. According to the SSA website, the wait for replacement card is 10-14 business days. Once the card has been processed they send it right out.

What if I Cannot Apply Online?

If online service is not available for you then you will have to do it the old fashioned way. Locate your nearest SSA office and apply in person. Forms can be filled and printed out at home to make the process go faster, but the actual processing of the order itself will have to be done in office. Remember, you will have to bring your corroborating documents with you.

You will also need different documents depending on your age and country of origin. Foreign-born citizens need different documentation to claim their replacement SSN. If the SSN in question belongs to a child you will have to contact a SSA office to find out what documents are necessary in that case. There are special circumstances for children that vary from state to state.

What if My Social Security Card Is Stolen?

In the event your Social Security card is stolen you need to contact the authorities. Same goes for simply losing your SSN. You will need to file a report immediately to protect your identity and stop anyone from using your SSN fraudulently. The SSA can also be contacted via phone or online. Haste is necessary so that your identity is not used against you increasing your overall problem.

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