The government initially started the Social Security program to monitor the job earnings of a beneficiary over their lifetime so their benefits could be calculated. However, today, the Social Security program encompasses much more.
The 9-digit Social Security number is used as the identity for tax purposes. It is needed to open bank accounts, apply for loans, receive government assistance, and get passports and driving licenses.
Every newborn gets a unique Social Security number even before they are taken home from the hospital. If you are not a natural-born citizen of the U.S., did not receive a Social Security number for any reason, or lost somehow, you might be wondering how to get a new Social Security card.
In this article, we shall take a look at the quick steps to get a new Social Security card and how to replace a lost Social Security card.
Getting a New Social Security Card
If you happen to misplace or lose your Social Security card, you can replace it for free at the SSA (Social Security Administration) website https://www.ssa.gov/. Or, you can visit your local SSA office and even apply through regular mail.
However, if the card is not needed for a specific purpose, and you remember your Social Security number, then you can avoid going through this trouble. According to the rules, you are not required to have a Social Security card as long as you know the number.
Still, the SSA allows beneficiaries to replace their lost or stolen Social Security cards thrice in a 10-year period, with some exceptions. For instance, if you legally change your name, you can get a new card, and it will not be counted toward the limit. The same rule applies if you need to update your immigration status on the Social Security database.
Steps to get a new Social Security Card
These are three easy steps to get a new Social Security card:
Step 1 – Documents Required
You will need to get certain original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency before applying for a new Social Security card. Remember, notarized or the SSA does not accept photocopies of these documents.
These are the documents you will need to get before applying for Social Security:
- Proof of Age – Any document that can prove your age made before you turn 5 years old is accepted as proof of age. For this, you can show a U.S. hospital birth record, birth certificate, religious record or your passport.
- Proof of Citizenship – Any document that proves you are a valid U.S. citizen, such as a U.S. passport or a U.S. birth certificate, will suffice as proof of citizenship.
- Proof of Identity – Any document/photo ID that identifies you personally is accepted. This can include a U.S. passport, U.S. driver’s license, employee ID card, state-issued ID card, military ID card, school ID card or health insurance card. However, the SSA does not accept a Medicare card as proof of identity.
Make sure to have all these documents up-to-date with accurate information and details. The SSA rejects outdated documents and will not accept receipts showing that you have applied for said document.
Step 2 – Apply for a Social Security card
Once you have the necessary documents handy, you can apply for a new Social Security card at the SSA website by filling out the form here https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf.
If you want to fill out an online application, then you can create an SSA account here https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/.
Step 3 – Visit the SSA office
After filling out the online application form, you can print out and take the application (with original documents) to the local SSA office. If you want to find the nearest SSA office to you, you can check out this link https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp.
Or, if you fill out the application online, the website will take you to a web page where you can search for the closest SSA office to you. There are certain criteria you will need to meet if you wish to submit your application for a Social Security card online.
To do this, you will need to provide additional documents, such as a state-issued ID card or driver’s license, that prove you are a U.S. citizen over 18 years old and have a U.S. mailing address. If you have these documents handy, then you can simply create an account on the SSA website and request a new/replacement Social Security card.
The quickest way to get a new Social Security card or replace a stolen/lost card is to use the online application portal. You can also choose to go to the local SSA office and apply for a new Social Security card. Once your application is approved, it usually takes 10 and 14 business days to receive a new Social Security card by mail.