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Tuesday, December 7th, 2021

In most states, those who are at least age 18 and have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card can apply for a replacement Social Security card online. (GETTY IMAGES)

You may be eligible to apply for a free Social Security card replacement online.

 

If your Social Security card has been lost or stolen, you can request a new Social Security card from the Social Security Administration. Many people are able to apply for a replacement Social Security card online, while others need to submit an application for a new card via mail or in person. Social Security replacement cards are free, but you may need to include official documents with your application.

Here’s how to get a new Social Security card:

  • Find out if you qualify to request a new Social Security card online.
  • Create or use your my Social Security account.
  • Fill out a paper application.
  • Gather necessary documents.
  • Mail or submit an application in person at a Social Security office.

How to Apply for a Replacement Social Security Card Online

You may be able to request a new Social Security card online using your my Social Security account. If you don’t have a my Social Security account, you can create one at ssa.gov/myaccount. In most states, those who are at least age 18 and have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card can apply for a replacement Social Security card online. There is no cost for a new or replacement Social Security card.

However, there are some groups of people who are not eligible to replace a Social Security card using a my Social Security account. If your license or state ID was issued by Alaska, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, West Virginia or a U.S. territory, you may not be able to get a new Social Security card online. Residents of Delaware and Wisconsin can use the online card replacement service if they have a driver’s license, but not other forms of state identification.

Those who are requesting updates to their Social Security record also cannot use the online service. “If you plan on making changes to your Social Security card, such as a name change, you will not be able to request a replacement online,” says Martha Shedden, president and co-founder of the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts.

Documents You Need to Get a New Social Security Card

Those who don’t qualify to request a Social Security card online must fill out a paper applicationand mail or take it to a Social Security office. You may also need to provide documents that establish evidence of your age, identity, U.S. citizenship or immigration status.

Commonly requested documents for a new Social Security card include:

  • Birth certificate.
  • U.S. driver’s license.
  • U.S. state-issued non-driver identity card.
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have these forms of identification, other documents are sometimes accepted, such as a U.S. hospital record or religious record of your birth, a final adoption decree, a U.S. military identity card, a certificate of naturalization, an employee identity card, a certified copy of a medical record, a health insurance card, a Medicaid card or a school identity card.

You must provide the Social Security Administration with original documents or certified copies from the agency that issued them. Photocopies and notarized copies of documents are not accepted as proof of identity. The Social Security Administration says it usually takes between two and four weeks to process the application and return the documents.

Social Security Card Limits

Each worker is generally limited to three replacement Social Security cards per calendar year and 10 cards in a lifetime. Cards that are requested due to a name change or work authorization do not count against these limits. Exceptions to the card limits may be granted if you provide evidence that a Social Security card is required for an official purpose.

Security Implications of Losing Your Social Security Card

If you suspect that your Social Security information has been stolen, there are steps you can take to protect your identity. “Place a credit freeze on your credit reports with the three credit bureaus. This will stop anyone from using your identity to open new accounts,” says Kathy Stokes, director of fraud prevention programs at the AARP Fraud Watch Network. “It’s free, and you can lift the freeze anytime you need to take out a loan or open a new credit account and then refreeze for free.”

How to Keep Your New Social Security Card Safe

The Social Security Administration advises not carrying your Social Security card around with you. You will only need to show your Social Security card under very specific circumstances, such as starting a new job, opening a bank account or obtaining government benefits. In most other instances, you do not need to provide your Social Security card.

“If you are asked for your Social Security information for purposes where it is really not necessary, for instance in doctor’s offices, I suggest people ask why it is needed and if there is another form of identification that you can give instead,” says Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy for the Consumer Federation of America. “Your Social Security card is one of those things you should put away somewhere where you can find it, but where it’s not exposed to others who may be in your home.”

Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know

Mature couple on the move. On city break holiday

Emily Brandon is the senior editor for retirement at U.S. News & World Report. She has been

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