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How To Get a Replacement Social Security Card

Written by 
Lacey Ramburger

Article at a glance

  • A social security number is primarily used as a way to identify U.S. workers
  • In most cases, a physical copy of a social security card isn’t necessary if you know the number, but updates may need to be made for those who change their name or think their card may have been stolen.
  • A person can apply for a new card online, in person, or by mail.

Why Would Someone Need a Replacement Social Security Card?

Your social security number is an important piece of information to know, particularly when it comes to applying for/​receiving benefits. In most cases, you do not need a physical Social Security card (SS card)—knowing the number itself is enough.

However, there are a few reasons a person may want or need a replacement card, including:

  • If they get married/​change their name
  • If they discover their card has been stolen
  • If they want to have a physical copy for identification purposes

What You Need To Get a Replacement Social Security Card

There are a few important documents containing your personal government information required to get a replacement card.

Proof of Citizenship Status

To obtain a new card, you must provide proof that you are a U.S. citizen. Some documents that can verify this include:

  • Birth certificate
  • U.S. passport

Proof of Immigration Status

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need to provide proof of immigration status to receive an SS card. Some documents to verify this include:

  • Form I‑551, also known as a green card
  • Form I‑766 EAD (Employment Authorization Document), or work permit
  • Form I‑94 (arrival/​departure record)
  • Admission stamp on an unexpired foreign passport.

Note: The Social Security Administration (SSA) states that only non-citizens who work for the Department of Homeland Security can apply for a new card. Contact your local Social Security office for more information.

Proof of Age

Preferred documents to verify your age include:

  • Birth certificate (from before the age of 5)
  • Religious record (before the age of 5)

If neither of the above options is available, you will need to bring two of the following documents:

  • Birth certificate (after the age of 5)
  • Vaccination status
  • School record
  • Insurance policy
  • Hospital admissions record

Proof of Identification

You will also need to provide proof of identity with one of the following:

  • Driver’s license
  • U.S. Passport
  • State issued- nondriver ID

If you do not have these options available, the SSA may also accept:

  • School identification card
  • Employee identification card
  • Health insurance card (not Medicare)
  • U.S. Military I.D.

Note: The Social Security Administration will only accept original documents—they will not accept duplicates, notarized copies, or photocopies. Contact your local office for more information.

How To Request a Replacement Card

There are a few ways to request a replacement social security card, including applying online or going to your local social security office in person.

Online

If you choose to go online to obtain a new social security card, there are a few steps to follow:

  1. Log in to your social security account. If you do not have an account, you will need to create one.
  2. At the top of the web page, select the option Replace Your Social Security Card.”
  3. Answer the questions provided to determine whether you’re eligible to apply for a replacement card online.
  4. If eligible, fill out the Form SS 5 with the appropriate information
  5. Submit the form.

There are a few states that currently do not allow online applications for replacement cards, including:

  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • West Virginia

It’s also worth noting that if you reside in Alaska, Delaware, or Wisconsin, the only accepted form of ID for the application is a U.S. driver’s license. Additionally, if your driver’s license was issued in a U.S. territory such as Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, you are not eligible to apply online.

In Person

Whether by preference or lack of online eligibility, you can also choose to apply for a replacement in person. To do this, you will need to:

  1. Find your local office. You can use this tool to find the one closest to you.
  2. Print and fill out a Form SS 5
  3. Bring the required documents needed
  4. Turn in your form and submit the documents to the clerk

By Mail

You can also apply for a replacement card by mail. To do this, you will need to:

  1. Print and fill out a Form SS 5
  2. Locate the mailing address of your local Social Security office.
  3. Mail your form and the required documents (your documents will be returned to you along with your card).

Regardless of the method used, the Social Security Administration states it takes an average of two to four weeks to receive your physical replacement card.

FAQ

How much does it cost to replace a social security card?

You can get a replacement card for free. Avoid service providers who try to charge you for a new card.

How many times can you receive a replacement card?

You can apply for a new card a maximum of three times a year and are limited to ten total cards in your lifetime.

Should I be concerned if I lose my social security card?

While knowing your number is enough in most cases, losing your card could leave you susceptible to identity theft or fraud. If you believe your card has been lost or stolen, contact your Social Security office.

Can I get a different social security number?

Yes, it is possible to get a new number. Contact your local Social Security office for more information.

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