How to Request a Replacement Social Security Card

If you've lost your card or changed your name

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Expertise Personal Finance: Social Security and taxes
Dan Avery Former Writer
Dan was a writer on CNET's How-To and Thought Leadership teams. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, NBC News, Architectural Digest and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.
Expertise Personal finance | Government and Policy | Consumer affairs
Katie Teague
Dan Avery
3 min read
a fan of three Social Security cards

In most cases you can get a new Social Security card in person, online or through the mail.

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

Your Social Security number is required to apply for a credit card, file your taxes and verify your identity online. Your physical Social Security card is much less essential but, if you've lost it -- or changed your name -- it is possible to replace it. 

Below, find out what you need to get a new Social Security card, how to request one online and in person, and how long it will take to receive a new card.
For more on Social Security, here's when it's OK to give out your Social Security number and what to do if you think you're the victim of identity theft.  

3 ways to request a new Social Security card

In most circumstances, you can order a new card in person, online or through the mail. 

If you are sending your request by mail, don't send originals of your primary documents, such as your driver's license, your passport or immigration papers. The Social Security Administration won't accept photocopies, but you can submit copies certified by the agency that issued them. 

If you're getting a new card in person or by mail, make sure to also fill out Form SS-5 (PDF).

Which documents do I need to get a new Social Security card?

Whichever way you do it, you'll need these documents.

Proof of US citizenship: This can be your birth certificate or a US passport. This documentation is only required if you haven't already established citizenship with the Social Security Administration.

Proof of age:A birth certificate is best, but if you don't have one, the Social Security Administration may accept a religious record made before you turned 5 years old, a US hospital record of your birth or a US passport.

Form of identification: This can include your US driver's license, US passport or state-issued non-driver ID card.

If you don't have any of these documents, the Social Security Administration may accept one of the following:

  • Employee identification card
  • School identification card
  • Health insurance card (but not a Medicare card)
  • US military ID card

Requesting a replacement card without changes

The easiest way is to request a new card online, especially if you don't live near a Social Security office.

You'll need to create a My Social Security account to get started. Once you're signed in, you should see a link that says Replace your Social Security Card at the top.

After you click the link, you'll be asked a series of questions to determine if you're eligible to request a replacement card online. Finally, you'll need to verify your identity by answering several other questions, and then you'll electronically sign your name before submitting your request.

Here's who isn't eligible to request a card online:

  • People who live in Alaska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma or West Virginia.
  • Those requesting any change to their card, such as a name change.
  • Those with a driver's license or ID card issued by a US territory, such as American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands.

If you want to request a new card in person, here's where you can find a local office to schedule an appointment. And if you'd rather mail in your request, here's how to find the mailing address for your nearest office.

You'll need to complete and send in this form (PDF), whether you're visiting an office in person or mailing in your request.

Getting a replacement card if you've changed your name or other information

If you've legally changed your name for any reason -- for instance, due to a marriage, divorce or court order -- you'll need to let Social Security know. Y
You can either take the required documents to a nearby Social Security office or mail them in. You can't order a new card with changes online.

To get an updated card, you'll need to show proof of US citizenship, proof of your legal name change and an accepted form of identification. Your new card will have your new name but the same Social Security number.

How long do I have to wait for my new Social Security card?

Whether you apply online or in person, It will take about seven to 10 business days to receive your new Social Security card, according to the Social Security Administration
If you submitted a request via mail, it could take between two and four weeks.