A Social Security card is an essential document, and you often need it for identity verification purposes. For example, when you start a new job, you will need your card as part of the I-9 verification process to start work. Most of the time, you are required to present your original card. Photocopies will not work in most cases. So, what happens if your card is lost or stolen? How do you obtain a new one? Getting a replacement Social Security card is not difficult, but there are specific steps that you must take to complete the process correctly. Here is everything you need to know about getting a new Social Security card in 2024.
What You Need To Do To Get A Replacement Social Security Card
The process for obtaining a new card varies slightly depending on the reason for your request. If your name has changed, for instance, then the process will be a little different than if you lost your card. If you need to replace a lost or stolen Social Security card with no other changes, that is the most straightforward process. Here are the general steps you will need to follow, and we will call out the differences in details where applicable.
Step #1. Gather Identification Documents
First, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will need to ensure that you are who you say you are before issuing a new card. They will need to verify your identity, and you will need to provide a few documents as part of that process. Go ahead and locate your birth certificate and your driver’s license. These documents prove both your U.S. citizenship status and your identity. If you don’t have a driver’s license, then you will need another acceptable form of photo ID. This could be a military ID, U.S. passport, state-issued photo identification card, school ID card, health insurance card (not a Medicare card), or some other acceptable document. You will also need a document showing your date of birth, but a birth certificate will accomplish that as well. Make sure that you provide original documents or certified copies, as copies of documents or even notarized copies are not accepted.
Step #2. Submit Application Online
Once you have your documents together, you can complete an online application. You will need to complete Form SS-5 to request your new card. You can print the application and complete it manually or create a Social Security account through www.SSA.gov and complete the application online.
Step #3. Visit Your Local SSA Office
Next, you will need to head down to your local Social Security office with your original documents to submit your application. Make sure that you make an appointment first, as walk-ins are not being accepted at most office locations at this time. In many states, you can submit your application completely online without visiting the Social Security office, as long as you have a U.S. mailing address and are not making any changes to your card, like a name change.
Can You Get a Same-Day Social Security Card Replacement?
So, is there a Social Security card center where you can receive a replacement card the same day? The short answer is no. The fastest way to receive your replacement card is by requesting it online, if you are eligible. If you live in any state other than Alaska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, or West Virginia, then you can request your replacement online. You should receive your new card in the mail within 14 days.
However, there might be instances where you need your card immediately. While you cannot get a replacement card the same day, you can get a document that will sometimes work in a pinch. If you submit your application for a new card in person, then you can get a receipt showing that your application has been submitted. In some cases, this will suffice as evidence of a temporary Social Security card. However, not everyone will accept this receipt. If the agency requesting your card will not accept the receipt in its place, then you will have to wait until you get your new card in the mail to conduct your business.
Getting A Replacement Social Security Card Online
The Social Security Administration has added many online services over the past couple of years. The quickest and easiest way to get a replacement Social Security number card is to request one online. You will first need to use your Social Security number and some other personal information to register for an account through www.SSA.gov. Not only can you request a new card here, but you will also have access to your entire Social Security record. You can use this account to estimate future Social Security benefits, sign up for benefits, and many other things.
Once you have your account created, it is time to request your replacement card. Remember that you must be a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address. You must also not be requesting any other changes to your card, not even a legal name change. If you have a new name, then you will need to submit your application in person. Finally, you will need a U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID card, including the District of Columbia. Licenses from U.S. territories cannot be accepted at this time. If you meet these eligibility requirements, then you can proceed with your online request.
Follow the prompts on the SSA website to complete your online request and upload your documentation. Once you have submitted your request, you can expect your new card to arrive in the mail in a couple of weeks. Most cards that are requested online are received within 14 days.
The Bottom Line
If you need to request a new SSN card, the process is not extremely difficult. However, you might need to visit your local Social Security office if you do not qualify to request a replacement card online. Make sure that you have original documents that show proof of your identity and citizenship status, like a birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, or other U.S. hospital record. Some religious records or an adoption decree can also be used to prove age, but they must meet certain requirements. Social Security cards are not available to non-citizens or those with other immigration statuses in most cases.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest way to get a replacement Social Security card?
The fastest way to get a replacement card is to register for a Social Security account through ssa.gov and request the card online. You must meet a few eligibility requirements to complete the request online, but that is the fastest way to get your new card. If you cannot complete the request in person, then you will need to visit the Social Security office. You can learn what documents are required for in-person applications by reading through the instructions for Form SS-5.
What should I do if I lose my Social Security card?
If you lose your Social Security card, you should go ahead and request a replacement. In addition, you want to take steps to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. Make sure that you keep a close eye on your credit report, and you should probably sign up for a credit monitoring service. Go ahead and place a fraud alert on your SSN with the credit bureaus so that lenders must take additional steps to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name.
How long does it take to replace a Social Security card?
If you can request your replacement online, then you should receive your new card within a couple of weeks. However, if you complete your request in person, then you can expect a longer wait time. It will generally take about 30 days to receive your new card in that case. Make sure that you have all your documents in order, like your U.S. birth certificate, before starting your request to help move things along as quickly as possible.