Social Security Name Change In 3 Easy Steps

social security name change

If you are recently married or divorced, you might be in the process of getting your name changed on important accounts and documents. You will also need to get a new Social Security card that displays your new name as well. Although you don’t often need to present your Social Security card for identification purposes, it will need to show the correct name when you need it.

Performing a name change with the Social Security Administration is a reasonably simple process, but you will want to ensure you have the proper documents. You will need to complete the application and show the SSA documentation of your name change. Keep reading as we tell you exactly how to perform a name change with Social Security.

How To Change Your Name On Your Social Security Card

Changing your name on your Social Security card is straightforward, but you must follow the proper process. If you are missing documents or attempt to do things incorrectly, it can make getting a new card much more difficult. Here are the steps you should take to quickly get your name changed on your Social Security card.

1. Gather The Required Documents

To change your name on your Social Security card, you must prove both your name change and your identity to the Social Security Administration. To verify your name change, you can use one of the following documents:

  • Marriage document
  • Divorce decree
  • Court order of name change
  • Certificate of naturalization showing your new name

In addition to proving your name change, you will also need to confirm your identity. This is typically done with one of the following documents:

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

Some people may not have any of the three documents shown above. In that case, the Social Security Administration may accept other documents as your proof of identity. However, the document needs to be current, show your name and identifying information, and preferably show a recent picture. Some examples of ID cards that may be used are as follows:

  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card)
  • School identification card
  • Military identification card
  • Employee identification card

Since you are simply changing the name on your card, you should already have a prior Social Security card. This means that the Social Security Administration should already have a record of your citizenship status. However, if they do not, you might be required to prove that you are a U.S. citizen. Proof of U.S. citizenship can be established by showing one of the following documents:

  • U.S. birth certificate
  • U.S. Passport
  • Certificate of citizenship
  • Certificate of naturalization
  • U.S. Consular report of birth abroad

The final thing that you need to know about your documentation is that you must present original documents. Photocopies of documents or notarized copies will not be accepted. However, a certified copy that is certified by the issuing agency may be used in some cases.


2. Complete Form SS-5

Now that you have found all the documents you need, you will need to complete Social Security Form SS-5. This form is the application for a new or replacement card. This application requires some personal information, such as your birth name, new name, date of birth, Social Security number, address, and parents’ names. You may print the Social Security name change application and complete it by hand, or complete the application online and print a copy that is filled with the information you provided. Once you have your application ready, it’s time to get your application to the Social Security office.


3. Mail Application Or Submit In Person

You have the option to either mail your application or submit it in person at your local Social Security office. Remember that copies of documents are not accepted, so mailing your application means that you will need to mail your original documents. Although the Social Security Administration will return the documents to you, they could get lost in the mail. For this reason, most people choose to visit their local office in person. Upon arrival, you will need to present your application and documentation to the Social Security representative. They will get your application processed, and you should receive your new card in the mail within 14 days in most cases. They can even provide you with a letter showing that your new card has been requested. This letter can serve as a temporary Social Security card replacement in some cases.


Stack of Social Security Cards

Cost Of A Social Security Name Change

The great news about a Social Security name change is that it is free! There is no charge to get your name changed on your Social Security card. You can submit your application and receive your new card without paying any fees. Not only that, but a name change also does not count toward your replacement card limit.

Remember that you are limited to three Social Security card replacements per year and only ten during your lifetime. However, getting your name changed does not count toward this limit. A name change is not counted as a typical Social Security card replacement since information on the card needs to be changed. The limits usually only apply to replacing a lost or stolen Social Security card.


Does A Name Change Affect Your Social Security Number?

Changing your name on your Social Security card will have no effect on your Social Security number. Your SSN will not change. Even though your name might change multiple times over the course of your lifetime, your Social Security number will remain the same for life. A name change does not qualify as one of the extremely limited circumstances under which you may be issued a new Social Security number.

You must prove that you have been the victim of identity theft to get a new Social Security number. On top of that, you must prove that the ID theft is so bad that your financial and credit records can never recover without a new Social Security number. This essentially allows you to start your credit file over and erase all the fraud on your old number. The Social Security Administration will only issue a new SSN in the most severe ID theft cases. You can visit to learn more about this process.


Other Documents To Update After A Name Change

In addition to your Social Security card, there are several other identity documents you likely need to update. You will need to update your driver’s license with your state DMV. If you don’t have a license, you might have a non-driver’s ID card that you need to update. Not only do you need to update identity documents, but you probably have financial documents that need to be updated as well.

You should go ahead and get your name changed on your bank accounts and credit card accounts. You will also need to notify your mortgage company, utility companies, and any other companies with whom you have a regular account. Each company may have different requirements for documentation of your name change, so you will need to reach out to each one individually to perform a name change with each. Getting all your accounts updated in a timely fashion is important to keeping your accounts up-to-date in the event any issues arise.


The Bottom Line

Getting your name changed on your Social Security card is a painless process, and you will typically have your new card within a couple of weeks. Notifying the Social Security Administration will also get your Social Security record updated for the purposes of benefits. Simply gather the required documents, complete the application, and head to your local SSA office. They will process your application, and your new card will arrive in the mail soon.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I change my name with Social Security online?

No, unfortunately, you cannot perform a Social Security name change online at this time. You must present your application in person or mail your application to the Social Security Administration. While you can request a replacement Social Security card online, you are not allowed to change your name. Online requests can only be processed when no information on your card is changing.


How long does it take for Social Security to change your name?

Once your application has been received by the Social Security Administration, you should receive your new card within 14 days in most cases. Changing your name is not a lengthy process. If you submit your application in person, you can even get a letter showing that a new card has been requested in your new name. This can effectively act as a same-day Social Security card replacement in some situations. Once you receive your new card, it is safe to assume that all your Social Security records have been updated as well.


Does your Social Security number change when you change your name?

No, your Social Security number does not change when you change your name. Most people will keep the same Social Security number for their entire life. The Social Security Administration will not typically issue a new Social Security number once you have been assigned one. However, in severe cases of ID theft, you might be able to get a new SSN. If the theft is so bad that your credit record cannot be repaired, SSA will issue you a new SSN. However, this is limited to the most severe cases.


What are the benefits of changing your name with Social Security?

It is important that you keep your Social Security record up-to-date. After a legal name change, this means notifying Social Security of your new name. Failure to do so could have an effect on your earnings record or benefit payments. You also need to make sure your Social Security card reflects your new name. If you need your card for identification purposes, a card with your old name might not suffice. This could put you in a bad situation if you need the card right away. Remember that Social Security cards do not expire, so they are good for life. However, they should be kept up-to-date with your current identifying information.