Most people obtain a Social Security card right after birth since most U.S. hospitals help new parents with the process of requesting a Social Security number and card for their newborn. Since Social Security cards never expire, you must protect your card throughout your lifetime. However, what happens if you change your name through marriage or some other legal name change? You will need to have your name changed on your Social Security card as well. The process for getting your name changed and getting a new Social Security card is not difficult. Keep reading as we tell you exactly how to change your name on your SSN card.
Steps For A Social Security Card Name Change
Many people wonder how to change the name on their Social Security card. Getting an updated Social Security card with your new name is not a difficult process. However, you need the correct paperwork and documentation. If things are not completed precisely the right way, then you will not get your new card, and the process will drag on. Here are the exact steps you need to take to get your name changed with the Social Security Administration.
#1. Gather Required Documentation
You will first need to gather the documentation required by the SSA to document your name change. There are a few different documents that will work, and the ones you need will depend on your specific situation. First, if you have not previously proved that you are a U.S. citizen, then you will need a document proving it. This is typically done with a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport — foreign passports will not work. You may also be able to use a consular report of birth abroad or a certificate of citizenship to prove your U.S. citizenship. If you are a noncitizen, then special rules may apply, and you will likely need your immigration documents.
Next, you will need documentation that shows proof of your identity. This could be a U.S. driver’s license or other state-issued non-driver’s identification card. If you do not have either of these, then some other forms of ID might be acceptable such as a school record, employee ID card, U.S. military identification card, or health insurance card. The document should show your name, date of birth, and preferably a recent photo.
Finally, you will need to show documentation of your legal name change. This could come in the form of a few different acceptable documents. The most common is a marriage document (certificate) or divorce decree. You might also present a certificate of naturalization or court order that shows your legal name change. If the name change occurred more than two years ago, you must show an identity document in your prior name.
With all of these documents, Social Security will only accept current original documents. The documents must not be expired, except in some cases where a document is needed showing your prior name. Photocopies or notarized copies are not accepted. A receipt showing that you have requested a document from the issuing agency will also not be accepted.
#2. Complete Form SS-5 Application
The next thing that you will need to do is complete the application Form SS-5. This form is used to request a new Social Security card, but it is also the Social Security name change form or the form used to request a replacement for a lost or stolen card. The application is not overly extensive. It is a single page, but there are a few pages of instructions attached to the application. These instructions provide information on how to properly complete the application as well as required documents that must be provided to support your request. In addition to your own information, you will also need your parents’ names and Social Security numbers for the application.
#3. Mail Application Or Submit In Person
Requests for a name change cannot be completed online at this time. If you simply need to replace a lost or stolen Social Security card, then you can request a replacement through your Social Security account online at SSA.gov. This is the quickest and easiest way to get a replacement Social Security card as long as you have a mailing address in the United States. In addition, your account will grant you access to your Social Security record and important information about your Social Security benefits.
Unfortunately, a name change application for a corrected card must be submitted through the mail or in person at your local Social Security office. You can use the SSA locator to find an office near you. Remember that local offices are not accepting walk-ins during the Coronavirus pandemic. You must call before your visit to schedule an appointment. You can choose to mail your application, but many people avoid this option because they do not want to mail their original documents. Remember that copies of documents are not accepted, although a certified copy will suffice in some cases. The copy must be certified by the government agency that issued the document and not simply notarized. Visiting your local office also provides another benefit. They can give you a receipt that will act as a temporary Social Security card replacement in some cases.
#4. Get Your New Card
Now you just wait for your new card to arrive in the mail! Since a name change cannot be requested online, it takes a little longer for you to get your new card. You can expect that you will receive your new card within 30 days in most cases. If there are problems with your application or documentation, then the process might take longer. Once you receive your new card, make sure that you keep your card in a safe place. You should not carry it with you all the time as this increases the risk of loss or identity theft.
Cost For Social Security Card Name Change
Good news! There is no charge to request a name change on your Social Security card. There is also no charge to request a replacement card even if you lose your card. However, there are some limits on the number of new cards that you can request. Each person is limited to three cards per calendar year. In addition, there is a limit of ten replacement cards during your lifetime. So, you should keep your card protected and do not request replacements for just any reason.
Will My Social Security Number Change?
No, your Social Security number will not change when you change your name on your Social Security card. You keep the same Social Security number for life. Once your number is assigned, you will have the same one for your whole life, even if you change your name. There are a few infrequent circumstances under which you can request a new Social Security number.
If you have been the victim of identity theft and fraud, then there are occasions where you can request a new number. However, the fraud must be so severe that it cannot be overcome without the issuance of a new number. This circumstance is rare, and it takes a lot of evidence to overcome this burden and convince the Social Security Administration to issue a new number.
The Bottom Line
Getting your name changed on your Social Security card is straightforward as long as you know the process. You simply need to have the proper documents and complete the application. Since it cannot be done online, you will need to submit the application in person or mail it. There is no cost for this request, and you can expect to receive your new card within a few weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you change your name on your Social Security card online?
Can you perform a Social Security name change online? No, you cannot perform a name change online at this time. Your application must be submitted in person or mailed to the Social Security Administration. Most people choose to visit their local office in person since they are not comfortable mailing their original documents.
Do I have to go to the Social Security office to change my last name?
No, you do not have to visit your local office. If you prefer, you can complete the application Form SS-5 and mail it to the Social Security Administration. Remember that you must provide original documents to support your request. This means that you might have to mail your driver’s license, passport, or other important documents. For this reason, most people choose to visit the office in person.
What documents are needed to change your name at Social Security?
You will need documents proving your identity and your name change. This could be a driver’s license or U.S. passport along with a marriage document or divorce decree. You might also present a court order that evidences your legal name change. You can find a full list of acceptable documents at SSA.gov.