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Need a New Social Security Card? Here's How to Get One

Your Social Security card is a critical piece of identification. Learn how to get a replacement if you lost yours or changed your name.

a fan of three Social Security cards
You can replace your Social Security card in person, online or through the mail.
Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

You probably use your Social Security number often, such as when applying for a new credit card, filing your taxes or verifying your identity online. You need your physical Social Security card much less frequently, usually for situations like starting a new job. However, if you don't have it when you need it, you'll be in trouble.

If you've misplaced your Social Security card or have recently changed your name, you can get a new one. But how you do it depends on whether you need a new one with updated information or a replacement without any changes. 

We'll tell you what you need to get a new Social Security card for either situation. For more, here's when it's OK to give out your Social Security number. While you're here, check out these identity theft protection and monitoring services.

The Social Security Administration gives you three ways to request a new Social Security card

There are several ways to request a new card: in person, online or through the mail. If you meet the requirements, doing it online may be the easiest way, but if you need to request a new card through the mail, the administration says not to send original primary documents that you should keep in your possession, such as your driver's license, your passport or your immigration documents. 

Also, documents must be originals or copies certified by the agency that issued them. The administration won't accept photocopies or notarized copies.

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

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

Whichever way you do it (online, in person at a Social Security office or through the mail) you'll need documents to prove your citizenship, age and identity.

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

How to request a new Social Security 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.

How to get a replacement Social Security card if you've changed your name or other information

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

As with requesting a new card without changes, you'll need to show proof of US citizenship, proof of your legal name change and a form of identification.

When you get your new card, it'll have your same Social Security number with your new name.

How long will it take to receive your new Social Security card?

The Social Security Administration says it will take roughly seven to 10 business days to receive your new Social Security card if you applied online or in person. For those who submitted their request via mail, it could take between two and four weeks for the administration to process and return your documents.