Social Security Name Change

Social Security cards are typically issued shortly after birth, usually once an official birth certificate has been filed. That means, whatever name you have is the name you are stuck with officially, right? Wrong! Although your actual Social Security number is set in stone, you can update your number to reflect any legal changes you make to your official identity. There are many reasons people change their name, such as when they get married or divorced, or even if they simply want to assign themselves a handle that better fits their personality. Our blog post will help you learn everything you need to know in order to change your name on your Social Security Card.

How Do I Change my Name on My Social Security Card?

In order to change your name on your Social Security card to your new legal name, you will need to visit a nearby Social Security office in person. Unlike other Social Security matters, name changes can’t be processed online. There is no fee for changing the name on your Social Security card or receiving your first corrected paper copy.

Under What Circumstances Can I Change the Name on My Card?

People who have legally changed their names due to marriage or divorce are able to file for a name change on their Social Security card. Those who have received an I-766 card from USCIS are also able to apply for a name change or correction on their Social Security card. Any adult is also able to legally change their name at any time. Once your legal name change has been processed, you may apply for a new Social Security card that reflects your new name.

Steps Required to Obtain A New Social Security Card with A New Name

Before you head out to the Social Security office, you will need to collect and organize your identification documents. This includes proof of identity, proof of legal name change, and in some cases, proof of your current U.S. citizenship. These valid, original legal documents must be presented during your Social Security name change application:

  • A certified marriage certificate
  • A Certificate of Naturalization that indicates your new name
  • A valid divorce decree
  • A valid court order with an approved name change
  • U.S. birth certificate
  • U.S. passport

Copies, even ones that are notarized, cannot be accepted in place of original documents when applying for a name change on your Social Security card. Certified copies from the original issuing body are accepted.

Identification Documentation

It is important to make the Social Security office aware of changes to your name so that the information on file is always up to date. If your name doesn’t match your current ID, it is possible that you will miss out on critical Social Security benefits. The documents provided to prove your identity must be unexpired. These documents must also have a photo, your name, and other identifying information. Some forms of acceptable documentation to use for a Social Security card name change application are:

  • State-issued non-driver’s identification card
  • U.S. driver’s license
  • U.S. passport

While most adults will have at least one of the above common forms of identification, there are times when none are available, or they may have been lost. If none of the three options above are available, in some cases, acceptable documentation includes:

  • U.S. military identification card
  • Employer identification card
  • Health insurance card
  • School identification card

For citizens, proof of citizenship is also required if you wish to change the name listed on your Social Security card. There are several different acceptable forms that can be used as proof for your application. Documents that prove U.S. citizenship that will be accepted are:

  • A Valid U.S. birth certificate
  • Unexpired U.S. passport
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • U.S. CRBA Form (Consular Report of Birth Abroad)
  • Certificate of Citizenship

The Social Security office may use a single document for multiple purposes, such as a valid passport being used for identity verification and proof of citizenship. Regardless of the dual or multiple uses of any available documentation options, at least two separate forms of documents must accompany your application.

Submitting Your Application for a Social Security Card with A New Name

Submitting an application for a new Social Security card with your new name is very simple. You can fill out an application directly on the Social Security website and then print it out. You can also print a blank form and fill it out by hand if you prefer. Once the form is printed and complete, gather your original documents along with the application.

The application along with your original documents can be mailed to your local Social Security office, or you may appear in person to hand over your application to a live agent in the office. The processing time is usually 10 days from the date of receipt. There is no difference in the processing time when mailed or when submitted in person.

Final Thoughts on Social Security Name Change

No matter what your reasons for changing your name are, the Social Security administration is available to help keep you on track. Maintaining proper documentation such as your Social Security card is the best way to ensure that you get the benefits you deserve and that your work credits are properly credited to your Social Security account.

Following the directions listed as well as providing legal, unexpired, original documents will ensure that your new Social Security card is processed quickly. If you prefer to hang on to your original documents for whatever reason, presenting them in person along with your application will remove the need for them to be out of your possession.

Keep in mind that the above instructions are only for those who are seeking to change the name on their current Social Security card to a new legal name. Replacement Social Security cards that have no changes to be made can be requested online in most states.