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Can You Replace Your Social Security Number

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The Government can only share your new SIN with the federal departments and agencies that use your SIN.

Therefore, you are responsible of providing your new SIN to every financial institution, creditor, pension provider, recent and current employer, and any other organization with which you shared your old SIN.

How Do I Order A New Social Security Card We’ll Explain

It’s important to keep your Social Security card updated and stored in a secure place so it can’t get lost. We’ll tell you how to request a new one.

Katie Teague

Writer

Katie is a Writer at CNET, covering all things how-to. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.

Your Social Security number is used for a number of reasons, like when you apply for a or a car loan. But in most cases you’re not required to show the physical card. However, you should still keep the information on the card updated if your name changes and not delay replacing it if you lose it: You need it in circumstances like starting a new job or getting a new driver’s license .

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.

I Have A Ssn But I Forgot It Or Never Knew It How Do I Find Out What It Is

If you were assigned a SSN at some point in your life, but you dont know it now, you need to request a replacement card. This is the only way to get your number because the Social Security Administration does not give out Social Security numbers any other way. You can apply for a replacement card by mail or in person at a local SSA Field Office. For more information on getting a replacement card, see PG. 39 if youre incarcerated, or PG. 40 if youre out.

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    How do I apply for a new or replacement Social Security card?, Soc. Sec. Admin., .

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    How To Request A Social Security Card Replacement

    If all you need is a replacement Social Security card, with no other changes, you can simply request a new card online at the Social Security website. You’ll need to be a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address and will have to supply information from a drivers license or state-issued identification card from a participating state or the District of Columbia.

    Currently, every state but Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and West Virginia participates in this program. If you’re from Alaska, Delaware, and Wisconsin, note that Social Security will only accept a driver’s license.

    This service is not yet available to people whose drivers license or identification card was issued by a U.S. territory, such as Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Note that a new Social Security card can also be requested by filling out the application and returning it via mail to dropping it off at the local Social Security Administration office. Or applicants can go to the local Social Security Administration office and fill out an application there.

    Replacement Card For A Us Born Child

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    You can replace your child’s Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during a lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

    Important

    You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current . We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

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    Additional Tips That You Need To Keep In Mind

    • In case your child was born outside the US but still has a right to US citizenship through parentage youll have to provide the social security administration with a foreign birth certificate.
    • The documents that you provide to prove your childs identity must not be expired, they must show your childs name clearly. It helps to submit a document that also has a photograph of your child. An ID without a photo is also acceptable as long as it gives enough information that can aid the verification process.
    • Before issuing a social security number for a newborn the social security administration requires your childs U.S passport but if that is not available they may also accept an adoption decree, a clinic/ hospital record, or a religious record.
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    Why Change A Social Security Number

    The SSA generally discourages people from changing their Social Security number . But like many other rules, there can be exceptions. For example, the SSA may issue a new SSN if you are able to prove that using your existing number will cause you harm, such as in cases of domestic abuse or harassment. The agency also reissues Social Security numbers in certain instances when someone is a victim of identity theft.

    One thing to keep in mind, though, is that even if you get a brand-new SSN, it doesn’t mean you have wiped the slate clean. The SSA normally keeps records under the original SSN, and other government agencies, such as your state department of motor vehicles and the Internal Revenue Service do, as well. That also applies to some businesses, such as credit card companies, that maintain files on you.

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    How Criminals Steal Your Social Security Number

    Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.

    In 2021 alone, nearly six million Americans were the victims of fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission .

    The problem is that scammers are masters at hiding their crimes. They want to be able to use your Social Security number for as long as possible before you catch on. But first, they have to steal it.

    So how do criminals steal your Social Security number? Here are the most common ways:

    Once a criminal has access to your SSN, they can use it for everything from loan fraud to stealing unemployment benefits in your name.

    So, how do you know if someoneâs using your SSN without your permission?

    Do You Need To Pay For A New Ssn

    Can I Change My Social Security Number To Rebuild My Credit?

    No. Getting a new SSN, whether you are applying for an original number or a replacement Social Security card, is free. The SSA does not charge you anything and provides you with all the information you need to apply.

    Beware of any company or website offering to help you apply for a new SSN. These sites are often scams that will charge you for free services or could even steal your sensitive information.

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    How To Request A Replacement Social Security Card

    You can replace a lost or stolen Social Security card by starting with a visit online, a trip to a Social Security office or a phone call.

    The good news is, the process is straightforward and usually quick. It typically takes about two weeks between the time you report the loss to having a new Social Security card in your hand. Even better news, replacing a lost or stolen Social Security card is free.

    The Social Security Administration outlines three basic steps:

  • Learn what documents you need.
  • Fill out and print an application.
  • Take or email the information to the Social Security Administration.
  • You can start the process of ordering a replacement card online at www.ssa.gov or by calling toll-free 1-800-772-1213.

    If you go to your local Social Security office, youll need to bring identification specifically:

    • A U.S. drivers license
    • A state-issued non-driver identification card, or
    • A U.S. passport

    You can fill out an application for a New or Replacement Social Security Number and Card on the Social Security website . You can also download and print out the application.

    Keep in mind the Social Security Administration requires that all documents submitted to replace a stolen or lost Social Security card must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. The agency cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

    Victims Of Domestic Abuse Must Submit Documentation

    If you’ve been subject to abuse or harassment, you must complete a statement explaining why you need a new number and provide supporting documentation of the abuse — such as police reports, restraining orders, medical records and letters from shelters, counselors or others with direct knowledge of the situation. “Sometimes, the best way to evade an abuser and reduce the risk of further violence may be to relocate and establish a new identity,” according to the Social Security pamphlet New Numbers for Domestic Violence Victims. “Although we don’t routinely assign new numbers, we’ll do so when evidence shows you are being harassed or abused, or your life is endangered.” If you’re changing your name as part of your new identity, Social Security recommends doing that first, so you can present court approval of the name change. The agency will also need to see custody documentation for any children you’re also requesting new numbers for.

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    How Long Will It Take To Receive A New Social Security Card

    If the SSA has all the information it needs, you could receive your new Social Security card in as little as one week, depending on your situation. Hereâs the typical timeline you should expect when applying for a new card or SSN:

    • When requesting a replacement Social Security card: 7 â 10 business days.
    • When applying to change your Social Security number: Within two weeks.
    • If the SSA needs to verify your legal status: Noncitizens who can legally work in the United States can get a SSN. Unfortunately, thereâs no specified timeline for situations where a government agency needs to verify your files relating to immigration documents, immigration status, U.S. citizen status, or your certificate of naturalization.

    Corrected Card For A Noncitizen Adult

    How to Replace Your Social Security Card

    If you change your name, become a U.S. citizen, or your immigration status or work authorization has changed, you need to tell Social Security so we can update our records and when necessary, issue a new card.

    When you request a replacement or a corrected Social Security card, you must show us proof of your identity, immigration status and work authorization. In addition, if you need to change or correct any information on your Social Security card, you need to show us certain documents about the change. We can only accept certain documents.

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    Family Members Have Sequential Numbers

    Like with the case of the two women in Florida, family members often share similar names andif members of the same family also have similar Social Security numbers further confusion can ensue. As with any of the cases where the SSA will consider changing the original number assigned to an individual, documentation will need to be provided to prove that the situation is causing hardship and is necessary.

    How Do I Report My Social Security Card Stolen

    You should call your local law enforcement to report your card stolen. They can take a police report and begin an investigation into finding the thief. You should also notify the Social Security Administration that your card has been stolen as well as the IRS. Notifying these agencies, in addition to the credit bureaus, will flag your SSN and make it more difficult for the thief to perform fraudulent activity using your SSN.

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    Guard Against Identity Theft First

    Before you even start thinking about replacing your lost or stolen Social Security card, you need to take steps to protect yourself from identity theft.If your Social Security card has been lost or stolen, or if you suspect your Social Security number is being used illegally by someone else, the SSA and the Federal Trade Commission recommend that you take the following steps as soon as possible:

    Reasons Accepted For Requesting A New Social Security Number

    Do You Need to Replace Your Social Security Card?

    The SSA, although it is discouraged, does allow for people to change their Social Security number but the list of reasons is limited and requires the individual to extensively prove that the request is valid and necessary. Reasons can include financial harm caused by identity theft or ones life is in danger due to domestic violence, among others.

    To get a Social Security number changed, the person requesting it must do so in person at one of the Social Security offices, making an appointment ahead of time.

    In the event the SSA agrees that a person is eligible to have their number changed, they will still retain their old number for the agencys record keeping. This ensures that all contributions, both on the original number and the new number are tallied to the same person. Likewise, the original number may still be used by financial institutions or state agencies in addition to the new number.

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    How Do I Apply For A New Social Security Number

    You can’t do it online — you must submit a new Form SS-5 in person at the nearest Social Security office. Applicants are asked to provide a statement explaining the reasons for needing a new number as well as “current, credible, third-party evidence documenting the reasons for needing a new number,” according to the Social Security Administration. If you’re a US citizen, you’ll also have to bring two original documents establishing your age, identity and citizenship status — like a passport, birth certificate or driver’s license — as well as evidence of a legal name change, if appropriate. Noncitizens must show current immigration documents, which could include an I-94, Arrival/Departure Record or Employment Authorization Document . Check with the Social Security Administration about adequate documentation before heading in. You can visit the agency website or call 800-772-1213.

    Lost Your Social Security Card Need To Make Changes Here’s How

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        Many people find they need to change or correct their Social Security information when they get married or divorced and change their names. Or they need a replacement Social Security card when they realize theyve lost their original one or it’s been stolen. Here is how to deal with either of those situations.

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        Replacement Card For A Foreign Born U S Citizen Adult

        You can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you may not need to get a replacement card. Knowing your Social Security number is what’s important. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes do not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

        Important

        You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current . We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

        You may be able to request your replacement Social Security card online. Our online service is a fast and secure way to get a replacement. If you are age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address and have amySocial Security account, you can apply for a replacement card online. For more information about creating my Social Security account and getting a replacement card online, visit our Social Security Number and Card website.

        Even If You Get A New Social Security Number Your Old One Wont Be Erased

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        The new number will be referenced with the original to ensure that all earnings under both numbers are credited to the same account. So getting a new number may not solve the situation you are in.

        Requesting a new number is a big decision. Your ability to interact with federal and state agencies, employers and others may be affected, according to the Social Security website. If you change your name, financial, medical, professional, and other records will be maintained under your former Social Security number and name.

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        How Do I Change My Social Security Number

        You can get a new Social Security number. It’s not an easy process, though.

        Dan Avery

        Writer

        Dan is a writer on CNET’s How-To team. His byline has appeared in Newsweek, NBC News, The New York Times, Architectural Digest, The Daily Mail and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.

        Your Social Security number is probably one of the few long numbers you can recite off the top of your head. Most of us are assigned one at birth and keep it our whole lives.

        But can you change your Social Security number? Generally, the Social Security Administration discourages people from changing their numbers, because it creates confusion with tabulating and distributing benefits.

        You can’t change your Social Security number simply because you want to, or because your card has been lost or stolen. But the agency makes exceptions in a small number of circumstances — like if you’re a victim of domestic abuse or identity theft — and can prove that using your existing number is causing you harm. Changing your Social Security number doesn’t automatically mean an abuser won’t be able to find you or a criminal will no longer be able to steal your identity. So it’s worth thinking seriously before applying for a new one. Here’s what you need to know about getting a new Social Security number, including the reasons it’s allowed, the process involved and other available options.

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