How to Get a New Social Security Card

Your Social Security designation is a nine-digit designation that connects you permanently with the Social Security Administration. The designation is used to record wages, put in an application for credit, identify you, and even is used to allow you to work legally in the United States. It is also used to monitor the designation of credits earned towards Social Security benefits over your lifetime. After retirement, this designation is used to track the designation of benefits paid out to you and any spouse or beneficiary.

Why Do You Need A Social Security Designation?

In order to get a job, put in an application for certain benefits or government services, you will need to have a Social Security designation. It is also important to have a social security designation if you plan to file taxes, even if you are not working. While most identification documents can be obtained without an actual Social Security card, a W-2 will often be requested in its place. In order to have a W-2, you will need a Social Security designation.

How to Get Your First Social Security Card

Most people are issued a Social Security designation when their birth certificates are filed with their local government regulating body. Depending on where the birth took place, either the hospital will file the proper documents, or the parents will need to file the proper documents to obtain a birth certificate and a Social Security designation.

Immigrants and children born overseas will get their first social security card later in life. Immigrants will be issued a Social Security designation when they are awarded legal status. This could be something as simple as a work visa or even something more permanent such as a green card.

Applying for A New Social Security Card

Before a person can put in an application for a new social security card, they will need to gather some basic documentation and information. You will need a birth certificate, citizenship or immigration papers, and a legal form of ID. In some cases, the government will accept a religious record or a hospital record that was created before your 5th birthday as a proof of identity.

Any person who is applying for a social security designation for the first time past the age of 12 will need to appear for an in-person interview in a local Social Security Administration office. Aside from the above-required documents, proof that a Social Security designation has not been previously assigned will also be required. Such documents may be proof of residence overseas, past school records, or tax records if they exist. During your application process, you will have ten days in which to provide the required documentation.

How to Get a New Social Security Card If Yours Was Lost

If you already have a valid Social Security designation, but simply need a new physical card, obtaining one is quite simple. Many states allow you to put in an application for a replacement Social Security card online, though there are some states who still require an in-person visit to their local Social Security office.

Users who have a 'my Social Security" account on the Social Security website can also put in an application for a new Social Security card online. As long as you are a citizen of the U.S. over the age of 18 and also have a mailing address, you can put in an application for a new social security card online.

You can’t make changes to your name or any other changes when applying for a new social security card online. You must also be able to provide a valid state-issued driver's license or non-driver identification card that is not expired during your application. There are currently two states that only allow online applications by supplying a driver's license, but not a non-drivers ID. These are Wisconsin and Delaware, so if you are not a driver, you will need to apply in person to receive a new social security card. The following states also do not offer online social security applications as of today:

  • Nevada
  • Alabama
  • Minnesota
  • Oklahoma
  • West Virginia
  • Oregon
  • New Hampshire
  • Ohio

U.S. Territory identification holders and driver’s license holders are also unable to put in an application for a new social security card online, but in-person processing is equally quick and efficient.

Submitting A Form SS-5 For A New Social Security Card

To apply for a new Social Security card, you must submit a form Social Security Form SS-5. A form Social Security Form SS-5 is required for those seeking their first Social Security card and those who are in need of a replacement card.

Regardless of your need for a new Social Security card or a replacement Social Security card, you will need to submit two forms of supporting documents along with the Social Security Form SS-5. These documents will serve to verify your identity and to prove your citizenship or immigration status.

Your supporting documents that prove your identity can be a state-issued ID or driver's license, a U.S. passport, or a military identification card. A valid passport, green card, or other immigration documents will suffice to prove the status of your citizenship. Keep in mind that the Social Security office will only accept original, valid documents issued by the issuing bodies, not photocopies or notarized copies. These must be provided when submitting your Social Security Form SS-5. If there are no changes being made to the card on file, an application can be submitted online or by mail. For all others, the Social Security Form SS-5 must be submitted in person.

Getting a social security number for the first time is the best way to ensure that your efforts over your work life are rewarded during retirement. If you have lost your current card or if you are in need of a replacement, the process is very simple and is offered free of charge. You can visit your local social security office, or you can submit a request online.