How To Replace a Social Security Card for Free

Social Security Card Next To Wallet With Credit Cards

So, you’ve lost your Social Security card and need a free replacement card right away. Perhaps you are starting a new job and need to show your new employer your Social Security card for I-9 verification. Or maybe you have another reason for needing your card right away. The Social Security Administration isn’t known for being the quickest place to deal with, so how can you get a same-day replacement? You need to know a few things about same-day replacement cards. Keep reading as we tell you how they work and what you need to do to get one.


Same Day Social Security Card Replacement

You should know that it is not possible to get a replacement Social Security card on the same day. However, there are a couple of different options to get a replacement card.

  • Apply Online: If you have a little time, then you should create a my Social Security account and use the Social Security Administration’s online services to request your replacement Social Security card online. If you request your replacement online, you can expect to receive your new card at your U.S. mailing address in about 10 to 14 days.
  • In-Person: You can visit a local SSA Office in your area to apply for a replacement card  You will need to submit your application for a replacement Social Security number card in person at your local Social Security office. You should print and complete the Form SS-5 application for a new card. You can call the Social Security Administration toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to schedule an appointment. Once you have your appointment, head down to your local SSA office with the original documents needed to support your application. Remember that photocopies of your documents are not accepted.

If you complete your application in person and have all the proper documentation, then the Social Security representative will issue you a receipt showing that your new card has been requested. In many cases, this will act as a temporary card. This is as close as you can get to a same-day replacement card.


Temporary Social Security Cards Explained

As mentioned in the section above, the Social Security Administration does not issue temporary Social Security cards. Remember that Social Security cards never expire, so your card is good for your lifetime. The only reason you should need to request a new card is if your card is lost, stolen, or damaged. You might also need a new card if you have a legal name change. The most common situation when you need a temporary card is starting a new job. Your employer will need your Social Security card for I-9 verification, but if yours has been lost or stolen, that could present a problem.

When you submit your application for a new card in person, the SSA can issue a receipt to you stating that the new card has been requested. This receipt verifies that your application has been submitted and approved and that you will be receiving a new card. In short, it acts as a temporary Social Security card. This receipt is an acceptable replacement document for I-9 purposes, although not all entities will accept this receipt for all purposes. You might find that your bank or some other agency will not accept the receipt and will only accept your Social Security card. In that case, you have no other option except to wait for your new card to arrive. Another thing to keep in mind is that the receipt from SSA is only valid for 90 days. After 90 days have passed, you must have your new card to present as identification.


What Is the Process of Getting a New Replacement Social Security Card?

Closeup Of Social Security Ss 5 Form

There are three primary steps to getting a replacement Social Security card:


Step 1: Gather Documents

You will need to gather important original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency (photocopies or notarized copies are not accepted by the Social Security Administration).  The paperwork will be used to prove several key items:

    • Citizenship: You will need a U.S. birth certificate or a U.S. passport to show proof of your U.S. citizenship.
    • Age: You will need to show proof of your age with a birth certificate, U.S. passport, U.S. hospital birth record, or religious record that was made before the age of 5 that shows your date of birth.
    • Identify: You will need to prove your identity by showing a U.S. driver’s license, state-issued ID card, U.S. passport or employee ID card, school ID card, military ID card, or health insurance card (but not a Medicare card).

Keep in mind that all the documents that you use must be up to date, the SSA will not accept expired documents or papers showing that you have applied for these documents.


Step 2: Apply Online:

The quickest and easiest way to get a replacement Social Security card is by requesting one online. To do this, you will need to create a my Social Security account to fill out the application online.  Then you will need to complete the Social Security card application using the Form SS-5.

Not everyone is eligible to request a replacement card online. Here are a few points to remember when applying online:

    • Citizenship & Age: You must be a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address.
    • Zero Changes: You may not request any changes to your Social Security card.  Only identical replacements are allowed online.
    • Identification Cards: Your driver’s license or other state-issued identification cards must have been issued by one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.  ID cards that were issued in a U.S. territory will not suffice when attempting to request a replacement card online.
    • Reside in Eligible State: There are still a few states that haven’t qualified with the SSA to allow online Social Security card replacements. If you reside in Alaska, New Hampshire, or Oklahoma, you will not be able to apply online.

In addition to requesting Social Security replacement cards, the SSA provides many additional online services through this account. You can view your entire Social Security benefits statement, including earnings history and estimates of future benefit payments. You can match these amounts up with prior tax returns to make sure that your records are accurate.

Once your account is created, it only takes a few clicks to have your replacement Social Security card sent to your home.


Step 3: Visit your Local SSA Office

If you are a noncitizen or do not otherwise qualify for online SS card replacements, then you will need to visit a local Social Security office to complete the process.   To expedite your in-person visit, you should still complete the Social Security card application (Form SS-5) online, then print out a copy to bring with you to the SSA office.  In addition to your application, you will need to bring several supporting documents as part of the application process.

Make sure that you schedule an appointment before arriving at the office.  SSA offices can be quite busy, sometimes it can take days or weeks to get an appointment.  In some instances, walk-ins may be accepted, but you could wait hours or may not even be able to be served that same day.  


Alternative Option: Mail-In

There is an option to mail your paperwork to the Social Security Administration.  However, many people avoid this option because that would require them to mail their driver’s license or other important documents to SSA since photocopies are not accepted. 


Documentation Required For A New Social Security Number Card

Multiple Forms Of Identification On Desk

Are you wondering, “What do I need to get a replacement Social Security card?” Hopefully, you are ready to learn what documents you need to complete your request for a new Social Security card because we are going to tell you. The answer depends on the method by which you make your request. If you can complete your request through the online card center, then you will just need your U.S. driver’s license or state-issued identification card. If you must complete a paper application because you don’t have eligibility to make the request online because of immigration status or some other reason, then the documentation required will be more extensive.


First, you will need a document proving your U.S. citizenship if you have not previously proved this to the Social Security Administration. In most cases, people use a U.S. birth certificate for this. You might also choose to use a U.S. passport or a certificate of naturalization.


Next, you will need documents that prove your identity. The documents used for identity verification vary based on which documents you have available. This is typically a driver’s license or state ID card. However, you might use other documents like a military ID, health insurance card (not a Medicare card), or school ID card. The document should show your legal name, date of birth, and preferably have a recent photo.

Rules to Know Regarding Documents

Regardless of which documents you use with your application, a few rules apply to them all. First, the document must be current and not expired. Next, they must be original documents. Photocopies, even notarized copies, are not acceptable. In some cases, a certified copy might be acceptable; however, it must be certified by the issuing agency. Receipts showing that you have requested a particular document will not serve as an acceptable replacement document. For instance, a receipt from your state Department of Motor Vehicles showing that you have requested a new driver’s license will not work in place of your original driver’s license.


What To Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card

What happens if you lose your Social Security card? In addition to requesting a replacement for a lost card, there are some more steps that you should take to help protect yourself from identity theft. If your SSN and card fall into the wrong hands, a thief might open credit cards, bank accounts, or loan accounts in your name. You could be stuck with a huge financial headache that might take months or even years to sort out.

If you lose your card, the first thing you should do is place a fraud alert on your Social Security number. This notifies the credit reporting bureaus that your SSN has been compromised, and lenders must take additional precautions to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. You might even consider placing a credit freeze on your SSN, which completely prevents anyone from opening a new account.

Next, you should review your credit report to make sure there is no suspicious activity there. If you notice any accounts on your report that you did not initiate, then you should work with the credit agencies to have those fraudulent items removed. Go ahead and sign up for a credit monitoring service. These services will immediately alert you to changes in your credit file. This allows you to catch fraud quickly and gives you a better chance of stopping it before it does too much damage.


The Bottom Line

While the Social Security Administration does not issue official temporary Social Security cards, there is a way that you can get something almost as good. If you submit your application for a replacement card in person at the SSA, then you can request a receipt showing that your card has been requested. This receipt can act as a temporary card as many agencies will accept it in place of your original card.


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get my Social Security card immediately?

There is no way to get a new Social Security card immediately. If you need your new card right away, then you should submit your application for a replacement in person at your local Social Security office. Ask them for a receipt showing that the application has been submitted. This will work as a temporary card for many agencies. If you can wait a few days, the quickest way to get your new card is to request one online. So, how long does it take to get a replacement Social Security card online? You should receive your replacement in about 10 to 14 days after completing your online request.

Can I get a temporary Social Security card online?

No, you cannot get a temporary card online. If you make your request online, then your new card will be mailed to your address and should arrive within a couple of weeks. If you need a temporary card, then you will need to submit your application in person at the Social Security office. Though they don’t issue temporary cards, they can give you a receipt showing that your application has been submitted and your card is on the way. This receipt will serve as a temporary card in most cases.

How do I get a Social Security card replacement if I have lost my card?

Are you wondering, “How do I get a new Social Security card?” If you lost your Social Security card, the easiest way to get a replacement is to request one online through your Social Security account. If you are unable to request one online, then you can either mail your application or submit it in person. Make sure that you schedule an appointment if you plan to visit the SSA office in person.

Where do I go to get a new Social Security card?

Are you wondering how to get a new Social Security card? You can register for a my Social Security account and request a new card online. If you cannot complete the online request, then you will need to visit your local Social Security office or mail your completed Form SS-5 (Social Security card replacement form) to the Social Security Administration. Those are the only three options for obtaining a new Social Security card.