Losing your Social Security card is a big deal. Your first priority should be ordering a replacement card. Luckily, the process has been simplified greatly over the past few years. You can complete the majority of the paperwork online. Though, if you prefer, you can still take the manual route and apply for a new card at a local Social Security Administration(SSA) office.
Replacing your SS card can be broken down into a few simple steps. If you have all of the appropriate documentation, then you can expect to receive your new card no later than two weeks from the date that you file for your replacement. Following is a break down of the steps required to receive the card.
If you are ordering a standard replacement for your card without any changes, then you will need a total of two documents. Together, these two documents must prove that you are a US citizen, that you are who you claim to be, and that you are the age you claim to be. In the case that you are not a United States citizen, you will need documentation that proves your current immigration status.
Further documentation will be required if you are attempting to change your name on your social security card. For example, if you’ve recently gotten married or divorced and your last name has changed. You will need to provide the legal documentation that supports the name change and file an additional form called Form SS-5. Your replacement Social Security card will still have the same Social Security number, but it will show the new name.
Only certain documents are accepted by the Social Security Administration for the purpose of proving age, name, citizenship, immigration status, or legal name change. For example, to prove your identity, the SSA will want to see a U.S. driver’s license, a U.S. Passport, or a state-issued identity card.
Of course, if you do not have any of these documents, the SSA may be willing to work with you and accept a different proof of identity, such as a military ID, a health insurance card, or an employee ID card. Using one of these alternative forms to prove your identity may lengthen the process. It’s best to use the preferred documents if at all possible.
As for proving your age, the SSA will always prefer to see a birth certificate. If that is not available, then U.S. hospital records issued at your time of birth or a U.S. Passport may be accepted. Again, using these documents may lengthen the application process. These two alternative documents also happen to be the preferred documents for proving U.S. citizenship.
With this in mind, the two best documents to use would b a U.S. Passport and a birth certificate. The passport is capable of proving your age, citizenship, and identity. The birth certificate will be used to prove your age. If you do not have a passport, then a U.S. driver’s license is the second-best choice and its usage will not slow down the application process.
For proving immigration status, the 1-94 arrival form, I-766 Employment Authorization Document, or Form I-551 are all considered acceptable choices. The I-551 is a lawful permanent resident card or machine-readable visa. You will also need to have your unexpired foreign passport when using the I-551 documentation.
In each of these categories, the documents provided must be the original or certified copies issued by the original agency. Notarized copies, photocopies, or receipts showing that you have applied for the documentation will not be accepted by the SSA under any circumstances. Thus, if you do not have the original or the certified copies, then this should be your first priority before applying for a replacement Social Security Card.
2.Apply At SSA Website
You can apply for a replacement card on the official ssa.gov website. You may need to fill out an online application and print the form. However, in some places, you are able to complete the entire process online. The SSA has recently implemented a new feature known as “my Social Security”. There are a total of 18 states where this feature is not yet implemented. You can determine your eligibility by checking the list available on their website.
You also cannot complete the entire form online if you are requesting a name change or any additional change to the card. It is only for U.S. citizens requesting an exact replacement of their existing card. You may still need to upload the above documentation.
3.File Paperwork At SSA Office
If you are not eligible for “my Social Security”, then you will need to upload your documentation on the website, print the online application, and visit the local SSA office. Do not forget to bring the documentation from the first step even if you were able to have them verified via the website. You can find the local of your local SSA office by using the SSA government website.
If you prefer, you can also skip the second step and head straight to the SSA office with the initial documentation. You can request the replacement application and fill it out while in the office. It’s slightly more time consuming, but some people believe it is a more secure option. You will not be able to verify your documents by uploading them to the website, but in-person verification isn’t a lengthy process.
4.Wait For Your Card
The SSA says to expect a 10-to-14 day wait before receiving your new Social Security card in the mail. You can check with your local SSA office to learn if there will be a longer wait for any reason. The only way to expedite the process is by using the “my Social Security” replacement program. Even then, there is no way to receive a replacement card on the same day.
Overall, the process is not very time consuming if you have easy access to the necessary documents. It can take considerably longer if you need to order replacement birth certificates or government identification cards.