How To Get A Social Security Card Replacement | Full Guide

Stack of social security cards.

There are not many times when you need your physical Social Security card. However, there are some instances when just knowing your Social Security number is not enough. In some situations, you will need to show your Social Security card for identity verification. This can present a real problem if your card is lost.

Thankfully, replacing a lost or stolen Social Security card is not usually a difficult process. The US Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a few different ways to obtain a replacement. In some cases, you can even have your new Social Security card within a week or two. If you need to get a replacement card, this guide will tell you exactly how to do that! We’ll also tell you which documents you will need to provide to get your replacement card.


How To Get A Replacement Social Security Card

A closeup of a $100 dollar bill and Social Security cards.

So, what are the steps to getting a replacement Social Security card? There are three different methods you can use to get a replacement, and we will discuss each one here. They might not all be available in your area, so you should be familiar with each method depending on which one you might have to use.


Request A Replacement Online

Requesting a replacement card online is the easiest and quickest method for getting a new Social Security card. You can make this request through your my Social Security account. When you register for the account at, you will verify your identity at that time. Once you have the account set up, getting a replacement card only requires a few clicks. However, you should know that there are a few catches to this method.

First, you must not change any information on your card. So, you cannot use this method to perform a name change or a change of any other personal information. Next, online requests are not available in every state. The Social Security Administration currently can complete online requests for residents in 46 states (and the District of Columbia), but the remaining four states will be added soon. SSA is working quickly to make online replacements available to everyone with a My Social Security Account. Once your request is completed, you should receive your new card at your U.S. mailing address within 14 days.

Submit Your Application In Person

If you are unable to request your replacement Social Security card online, then you can submit your replacement card application in person at your local Social Security office. Although local offices were closed to the public for walk-in appointments during the COVID pandemic, offices have now reopened. You should print and complete Form SS-5 and bring it to your local SSA office. This form is used for both new card requests and replacement card requests.

You will also need to bring along some supporting documentation when you complete your application in person. In the next section, we will discuss the documents you need in more detail. Submitting your Social Security card application in person will also allow you to obtain a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that your new card has been requested. This letter can serve as a temporary Social Security card replacement in some cases.

Mail Your Application

If you can’t complete your application online and decide not to visit your local Social Security office, you do have the option to mail your application for a replacement Social Security card. However, this is generally the least preferred method of getting a new card for a couple of reasons. First, it takes the longest amount of time. Next, you run the risk of losing other important documents.

Since you must provide original documents with your application, that means you must mail original copies of these important documents with your application. You cannot send photocopies of the documents or even notarized copies, so if your application is lost in the mail, your documents are lost with it. In some cases, certified copies are acceptable. If you decide to mail your application, you can expect that it is likely to take 30 days or more before you see your new Social Security card.


Documents Needed For A New Social Security Card

A U.S. passport, fingerprint card, driver's license, , Social Security card, and birth certificate on a white background.

So, what documents do you need when requesting a replacement SSN card? Completing your application online is the easiest method because no additional documents are required. Since you had already verified your identity when you created your My Social Security account, there are no other required documents. However, if you complete your application in person or through the mail, you’ll need to provide some documentation.

You will need to prove two things to get your Social Security replacement card – your identity and your citizenship status. If you are applying for a new card, you will also need a document that proves your age. If you are a non-citizen, some other rules apply that will be discussed in the next section. Here are the acceptable documents you can give to the Social Security Administration to get your Social Security card.


Proof Of Age

When applying for a new Social Security card, you will need to prove your age to the Social Security Administration. The preferred method for proving your age is a U.S. birth certificate. If a birth certificate exists, you will need to provide it. If no birth certificate exists for you, there are a few other documents that will work. These are as follows:

  • U.S. Passport
  • U.S. hospital record
  • A religious record made before the age of five showing your date of birth

You should also know that anyone over age 12 who is applying for a new Social Security card must complete an interview process with the Social Security Administration. They will be required to prove that they never had a Social Security number.

Proof Of Identity

Whether you submit your application in person or through the mail, you will need to prove your identity to the Social Security Administration before they issue a replacement card. There are several types of ID cards that may be acceptable. Your ID must not have expired, and it should show your name, identifying information, and preferably a recent photo. The most common documents to prove identity are:

  • U.S. driver’s license
  • State-issued non-driver ID card
  • U.S. Passport

If you do not have any of these documents, then there are other documents that might be accepted. Again, these documents must be current and show your name, identifying information, and preferably a recent photo. Some examples of acceptable documents are as follows:

  • School identification card
  • Employer identification card
  • U.S. military ID card
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card)

Proof Of Citizenship

Finally, you must prove your U.S. citizenship to get a replacement Social Security number card. There are only a couple of acceptable documents for proving your citizenship status. Those are as follows:

  • U.S. birth certificate
  • U.S. Passport

You should know that a single document can be used for more than one purpose. For example, your passport might be used to prove both your age and citizenship. However, you will need to provide at least two separate documents to complete your application request for a new or replacement card.


Social Security Cards For Non-Citizens

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you might still be eligible to get a Social Security card. However, different rules apply to non-citizens. Eligibility for a Social Security card and number is typically limited to those non-citizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security. Those who need to apply for a new or replacement Social Security card will need to prove their immigration status and work eligibility. The documents required to prove these things could include your permanent resident card, work permit, or arrival/departure records.


What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen

If you are requesting a replacement Social Security card because yours was stolen, there are some additional steps you should take to protect yourself from identity theft. You should report the theft to local law enforcement, and you should place a fraud alert on your Social Security number with the credit reporting agencies. This can help prevent a thief from opening new credit with your personal information.

Next, you should consider registering for credit monitoring services. These services can send you immediate notifications any time there is a change to your credit report. This allows you to catch potential fraud quickly, and it helps prevent further damage to your credit file. You should also check your Social Security statement to make sure that no one is attempting to withdraw your Social Security benefits using your SSN. These tasks are also important to complete, even if you just lost your Social Security card. Having your SSN fall into the wrong hands could be detrimental.


The Bottom Line

If you are wondering how to get a new Social Security card, the process is typically not difficult – especially if you complete the request online. If you are unable to get your replacement card online, you can complete an application in person or through the mail. These applications will require supporting documentation to prove your identity and citizenship status. Remember that you will need to provide original documents, as photocopies are not accepted. Non-citizens may also get a Social Security card, but they are required to provide different types of documents. Also, remember that you are entitled to three free replacement Social Security cards per year, but only ten during your lifetime! So, use your replacements wisely!


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prove my Social Security number without a card?

It will be difficult to prove your Social Security number without a card. If you have lost your Social Security card, then you will need to request a replacement from the Social Security Administration. For those who need the proof right away, you will need to visit your local Social Security office in person. They can provide you with a letter stating that your new card has been requested. This can prove your Social Security number and act as a temporary card in some cases.

What are the requirements for replacing a lost Social Security card?

If you already have a My Social Security account, you can easily request a replacement card online. Since your identity has already been verified, the only requirement is that you live in one of the 46 states where online replacement requests are supported. If you cannot complete your request online, you will need to complete the Form SS-5 application either in person or through the mail. You will need to provide original documents proving your identity and citizenship status.

How long does it take to get a new Social Security card?

When requesting a new card online, you should receive your card at your U.S. mailing address within 14 days. In some cases, your new card may arrive within a week. When you complete your application in person, this usually adds a little time to the process. In that case, your card should arrive within 21 days. Finally, mailing your application takes the most time. It could take up to 30 days to receive your new card when submitting your application through the mail.

What can I do if I have a copy of my Social Security card but lost the original?

There are many things you can still do even though you lost your original Social Security card. Simply knowing your Social Security number is sufficient for most day-to-day activities. There are only a few situations when you need your original Social Security card. For example, you cannot complete your employment verification with a copy of your Social Security card when you start a new job. In that case, you would need to get a replacement card from the Social Security Administration.