Your Social Security card is an extremely important document, and you should do everything you can to keep it safe. However, accidents sometimes still happen. So, what happens if you lose your Social Security card? There are some things that you need to do to keep yourself safe after losing your card, but thankfully, the process of getting a Social Security replacement card is usually quick and easy. As long as you know the process for getting a replacement card, you can have your new card within a couple of weeks in most cases. Keep reading as we tell you exactly what you need to do if you lose your card.
What To Do After You Lose Your Social Security Card
Most people understand how important it is to safeguard your Social Security number. That number plays a critical role in your life from both an identity standpoint and a financial standpoint. If your SSN falls into the wrong hands, a thief could do substantial damage to your personal finances using your SSN and other information. An identity thief could use your information to open credit cards, bank accounts, loans, and other fraudulent services in your name. You could be left spending months or even years trying to clean up the mess.
The first thing you need to do after losing your Social Security card is to place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your Social Security number. This will make it much more difficult for thieves to open accounts in your name. Next, you should get a copy of your credit report and closely examine it for accuracy. If you notice any suspicious items, then work with the credit bureaus to have any fraudulent items removed.
Go ahead and sign up for a credit monitoring service as well. This will immediately alert you to any changes in your credit report, and many of these services will provide assistance in removing fraudulent items or even insurance for financial damage. Once you have all that taken care of, then you can go ahead and request your new Social Security card. For most people, this process is quick and easy.
How To Replace A Lost Social Security Card
Are you wondering how to get a new Social Security card? The quickest and easiest way to replace a lost card is by submitting your request to the Social Security Administration online. When requesting your replacement Social Security card online, you can expect to receive your new card in 10-14 days. First, you will need to register for a My Social Security account at SSA.gov. This account will also provide access to important details about your Social Security benefits, even if you are not close to retirement age yet. Once you have a My Social Security account created, you can request your replacement card online through your account as long as you qualify for online replacements. Here is how you can tell.
You will need a driver’s license or identification card that was issued by one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. ID cards that were issued by a U.S. territory will not work when requesting an online card replacement. Next, you will need to be a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address. Mailing addresses abroad will not allow you to request your card online. You also cannot be making any changes to your Social Security card, like a name change or any other change. Your card must be replaced as an exact duplicate of your lost card.
Finally, you must reside in one of the states that qualify for online card replacements. Nearly every state in the U.S. is eligible now, but not quite. If you reside in Alaska, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, or West Virginia, then you cannot request your replacement online. If you reside in one of these four states or do not meet the other eligibility requirements, then you will need to complete Form SS-5 and mail it to the SSA or submit it in person at your local Social Security office.
When completing this application, you will also need to provide some documentation proving your identity. If you have not previously proved your U.S. citizenship status, then you will need to provide a birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, U.S. passport, or other acceptable document proving your status as a U.S. citizen. Next, you will need a document proving your identity like a U.S. driver’s license, health insurance card (not a Medicare card), military ID card, or some other document that shows your legal name, date of birth, and a recent photo. You will need to submit original documents with your application as photocopies are not accepted. Certified copies may be accepted in some cases, but they must be certified by the issuing agency. Most people choose to submit their applications and documentation in person. Since you cannot use copies of documents, most people do not want to mail their originals.
Same-Day Social Security Card Replacement
So, is there a way to get a replacement card on the same day? The answer is no, but you might be able to get something that comes close. Getting a same-day replacement is going to require a trip to your local Social Security office. You cannot get a same-day replacement online or by mailing your application. First, you should know that local offices are not accepting walk-ins due to the Coronavirus pandemic. You will need to call the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to schedule your appointment.
If you are able to get an appointment, you can visit your local office and submit your application. Be sure to bring original documents with you to go along with your application. Once verified and approved, the Social Security representative can give you a receipt showing that your replacement card has been requested. While they will not be able to issue a replacement card on the same day, this receipt will serve as a temporary Social Security card until you receive your new card in the mail. You should know, however, that not all agencies will accept this receipt in lieu of your Social Security card.
Cost Of Replacement Social Security Card
Thankfully, there is no cost to request a replacement card. Your new card will be sent to you free of charge. However, there are limits to the number of replacement cards that you can request. You are limited to three replacement requests per year. On top of this limit, you are also limited to a total of ten replacement requests over your lifetime. This is another reason it is so important to keep your card safe and protected. If you exceed the limit of requests, then you could find yourself in a bad situation if you do not have a Social Security card and cannot request a new one.
Many people wonder, “Do Social Security cards expire?” The answer is no. Since your card never expires, the only reason you should need a replacement is if your card is lost, stolen, or damaged. Make sure you protect your card so that you do not hit the limit on replacement requests.
Tips For Protecting Your SSN & Card
There are several things that you should do to protect your SSN and card to help avoid identity theft. First, you should not carry your card with you all the time. Only carry it when necessary. If you need to show your card to a new employer for I-9 verification, then you should carry it that day and then return it to a safe place. Keep the card at home in a safe place and consider locking it inside a safe to keep it protected.
You should also be very aware of Social Security scams and do not provide your Social Security number to anyone unless you are absolutely certain of their identity. Never provide your SSN to someone who calls and requests it over the phone or via text. Keep a close eye on your credit report and watch for any suspicious activity. If you keep your card protected and stay vigilant, then you should have nothing to worry about when it comes to your Social Security number.
The Bottom Line
The Social Security Administration has greatly expanded its online services in recent years, and the quickest way to replace a lost Social Security card is to request one online. Unfortunately, if you do not qualify for an online replacement, you will need to either mail your application or submit it in person. Bring original documents with you to your appointment, and be prepared to wait a couple of weeks to receive your new card in the mail.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get a Social Security card online if I lost mine?
Most people can request a new Social Security card online as long as they are making no changes to the card. A handful of states are not eligible for online replacements, so if you reside in one of those states, you cannot request your card online. In that case, you will either need to mail your application or submit it in person at your local SSA office.
What are some ways to protect my Social Security card?
Do not carry your card with you at all times. You should leave your card at home in a safe place unless you have a specific reason for carrying your card with you, such as starting a new job. Keep your card in a plastic sleeve to keep it from being damaged, and even consider locking it inside a safe or other protected location so that thieves cannot gain easy access to your card and information.
How do I get a new Social Security card if I lost my old one?
Many people wonder how to get a replacement Social Security card. The best way to get a new Social Security card after losing your old one is by requesting a new one online. You can use a My Social Security account to easily request a new card, and it should arrive in the mail in about 10 to 14 days. If you cannot request your card online, then the process becomes a little more cumbersome. You will need to complete the paper application and submit it in person or mail it to the Social Security Administration. You will also need to provide some additional documentation, and it will take a little longer for your new card to arrive in the mail.