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How I Get My Social Security Card

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How Do Benefits Work And How Can I Qualify

HOW TO REPLACE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD?

While you work, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money goes into a trust fund that pays benefits to:

  • Those who are currently retired

  • To people with disabilities

  • To the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died

Each year you work, youll get credits to help you become eligible for benefits when its time for you to retire. Find all the benefits Social Security Administration offers.

There are four main types of benefits that the SSA offers:

  • Learn about earning limits if you plan to work while receiving Social Security benefits

Us Citizens Born Abroad

If you’re an adult U.S. citizen who was born in another country, the Social Security Administration requires slightly different documents to prove your citizenship, age, and identity.

Once you understand the documents you need, see the General Application Process section above for the next steps in your application process.

Applying For A Social Security Replacement Card Especially Online Can Be Fairly Straightforward You Just Need The Right Documentation On Hand

It can be frustrating searching for your Social Security card, coming up empty and realizing you need to get a new one.

Even with the Social Security Administration offices mostly closed to the public right now because of COVID-19, getting a card replacement can be fairly straightforward. But you need to have the right documentation for the agency to issue you a new one.

Here are four things you need to know about getting a Social Security card replacement.

1 of 4

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How To Stop Social Security Check Payments

The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.

If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.

Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.

Original Card For A Noncitizen Child

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In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security can apply for a Social Security number . If your child does not have permission to work but needs an SSN for other purposes, see “If your child does not have permission to work” for further information.

Adoption

In some cases, we can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children .

Enumeration Beyond Entry

You may be eligible to apply using our automated process called Enumeration Beyond Entry if you are applying to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for work authorization or lawful permanent resident status.

If you are unable to use Form I-765 or Form I-485, you will need to contact your local Social Security field office. You should receive your SSN card within two weeks after we have everything we need to process your application, including verification of your immigration document with the USCIS. If we are unable to immediately verify your immigration document with the USCIS, it may take two additional weeks to receive your card.

Important

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Why Should I Replace My Childs Card

Technically, you dont need your childs Social Security card, but you do need the number for most things. Its not often anyone or any entity asks for proof of the physical card.

You will also need the number if you plan to open a bank account for your child, get him or her medical coverage, or add your child to your federal and state tax returns. However, there is a lifetime and yearly limit to replacing cards. You can replace your own and your childs card three times a year or ten times per lifetime.

Memorize your childs number to be safe so that even if the card is lost, youll be able to complete most documents. Remember, a Social Security card is a government document that should remain in your hands. Before you replace your child’s card, here are the immediate steps you need to take now to protect your child’s identity.

» Planning a funeral?

Visit The Local Ssa Office

If you are in a bind and you just cant wait on that replacement card in the mail, then it is time to head on down to your local office. While you can just drop in, you should expect that you will likely have to wait for hours. It is recommended that you make an appointment at the office before arriving. Currently, local offices are not accepting walk-ins due to COVID-19 restrictions, but you can make an in-person appointment in some cases.

First, you should find your local SSA office so that you know exactly where you need to go. Next, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment to try to minimize your wait time while at the office. Visiting your local office will get your application processed much quicker than mailing in your application. In addition, you can get a receipt showing proof of your application that will serve as a temporary copy of your Social Security card.

Finally, visiting your local office can be a better route than mailing your application because you will have access to a representative who can review the documents you plan to submit. They can advise you whether you have everything you need and whether the documents you are submitting are valid. If you mail your application and there are problems with your documentation, that can add weeks to the process of getting your new card.

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Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary

You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.

What Is A Social Security Card

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Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.

When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.

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Replacement Card For A Noncitizen Child

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.

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security can apply for a Social Security number. If your child does not have permission to work but needs a Social Security number for other purposes, see “If your child does not have permission to work” for further information.

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.

Obtaining/reclaiming Your Social Security Number

Over time, the US Social Security Number has evolved from merely the number of your account for retirement savings to something akin to a single national identification number that follows you throughout your US administrative life. It is indispensable on passport applications, tax returns, financial account reporting and numerous other business forms. And now it has gone international: under FATCA banks and other financial institutions around the world are required to ask American citizen clients for an IRS Form W-9 , which includes their SSN.

For many American citizens living abroad, such requests may cause panic. They havent thought of their SSN for years . Some never had one some have lost theirs, dont remember the number, or dont even know if they ever had one. So, yet another unanticipated fallout of FATCA is the extra workload falling on American embassy and consulate Federal Benefits Units around the world.

Add to this mix the enhanced requirement for high-quality, verified documentation prior to issuing a SSN, due not only to FATCA, but to various recent laws aimed at countering fraud and fear of terrorists. The bottom-line message, particularly for Americans residing abroad, is: verify now that you and any citizen you want to claim as your dependent, have SSNs. If not, roll up your sleeves, assemble your documentation, and apply as soon as possible, because it costs time to obtain a SSN.

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Gather Need Identifying Information To Submit With Your Card Replacement Application

The next step is to find original documents youll need to ensure you have the right information. Remember, you are not applying for a new Social Security card but replacing an existing one.

The SS-5 is used for a lot of different purposes, but to replace your Social Security card in Massachusetts you will need documentation to prove your identity and date of birth. Examples of such documents for U.S. citizens include:

  • State-issued ID
  • U.S. passport
  • A valid, unexpired U.S. drivers license
  • U.S. birth certificate

    If you were born outside the United States, youll have a different set of documents to first prove your U.S. citizenship or proof of legal, work-authorized status.

    Be sure to submit legal, original copiesnot photocopies or notarized replacements.

    If you are unable to find the right documents, and unable to replace them in a timely manner, you may be able use other documents. Its best to bring these to the Social Security Office rather than mailing them. These documents include:

  • Employee identification card
  • Health insurance card
  • The secondary documents must clearly show your full name, your date of birth or age, and preferably will have a current photograph. If you are in doubt about whether you have the right documents, call the SSA at Call us at 1-800-772-1213 for guidance.

    For non-citizens, immigration papers are a must, or a foreign passport with photograph and age and name identification. Your immigration status should show up on whatever documents you use.

    Application To Replace Your Social Security Card

    HOW TO GET A COPY OF SOCIAL SECURITY CARD

    After you gather your ID documents, you will need to fill out the Social Security Administrations Social Security card application. The application is available on their website, or you can get one from your local Social Security office. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and fill out the application accurately. Otherwise, your application may be delayed or even denied, or your new card may have incorrect information.

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    What Forms & Documentation Do I Need To Replace My Social Security Card

    Youre probably wondering, What documents do I need to get a replacement Social Security card? Whether you complete your request online through the SSA.gov website or you visit your local SSA office, there is some documentation that you will need before completing your request. You will need to complete the application for a social security card . This is the same form you will use whether you are requesting a brand new card or a replacement card. This form can be completed online or manually completed and returned to your local office.

    Whether you complete the form online or in-person, you will also be required to have documentation that verifies your age, identity, and status as a U.S. citizen or lawful immigration status. Here are some of the most common acceptable documents used to verify each.

    If You Want Extra Security

    We offer you the choice to add extra security when you create an online account. In the past, we told you Social Security would never ask for your credit card number or other financial information. We have changed our policy for this one service. Now, we may ask you for the last eight digits of your Visa, Mastercard, or Discover credit card, or some other financial information. Once you give us this additional information, we will send you a letter in the mail in five to 10 business days. You will need this letter to complete the voluntary process to add extra security.

    You can upgrade to extra security at any time. Adding extra security does not change the way that you sign in to your account. You must still sign in with your username, password, and a unique security code we will provide each time you sign in.

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    What Is A Social Security Number

    In 1936, the Social Security number was created. Its purpose was to track the earnings histories of workers in the United States in order to compute Social Security benefit and entitlement levels. Now, the SSN has grown in use to become the most commonly used numbering system in the nation. The SSN is assigned to individuals at birth and allows government agencies to identify and track information regarding financial records of individuals in the United States. It is required for getting a job, receiving Social Security benefits, and more.

    You Can Apply For A Social Security Card Replacement Online

    Getting my Social Security Number and Card

    Applying for a card replacement online through your my Social Security account is usually the most convenient option. But you can only use the online application if you dont need to make any changes, such as updating your name. You also have to be an adult with a drivers license or a non-driver ID card and live in one of the more than 40 states and Washington, D.C., that verify state-issued documents for the Social Security Administration.

    Generally your card will arrive within two weeks if you apply online. The online application can be found here.

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    How Do I Get A Temporary Card If My Ssa Office Is Closed Due To Covid

    With local SSA offices being closed to walk-ins, your best option is to request your replacement card online. This is the fastest process so you can expect to receive your new card the quickest by requesting online. You can also print your application submission, and this will serve as a temporary card in some cases. However, you should note that the printout will not be considered an official card. If you cannot request your card online, then you will have to call the Social Security Administration. In very limited circumstances, they are allowing in-person appointments if you cannot complete your request online or over the phone.

    How To Receive Federal Benefits

    To begin receiving your federal benefits, like Social Security or veterans benefits, you must sign up for electronic payments with direct deposit.

    If You Have a Bank or Credit Union Account:

    • Call the Go Direct Helpline at .

    If You Don’t have a Bank or Credit Union Account:

    Make Changes to an Existing Direct Deposit Account:

    Learn how to make changes to an existing direct deposit account. You also may contact the federal agency that pays your benefit for help with your enrollment.

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    How Do I Apply For A New Or Replacement Social Security Number Card

    • You can get an original Social Security card or a replacement card if yours is lost or stolen. There is no charge for a Social Security card.

      You can use a my Social Security account to request a replacement Social Security card online if you:

    • Are a U.S. citizen age 18 years or older with a U.S. mailing address.
    • Are not requesting a name change or any other change to your card.
    • Have a driver’s license or a state-issued identification card from one of the many participating states. If your state does not yet participate in this service, check back soon. More states are added regularly.

    If you cannot apply for a card online, you will need to provide the required documents. We need to see different documents depending on your citizenship and the type of card you are requesting. See Learn What Documents You Need to find out what documents you will have to show. Fill out and print an Application for a Social Security Card and contact your local Social Security office or your local Social Security Card Center to find out your submission options.

    Note: If you are a U.S. Citizen, applying for a replacement SSN card, and choose to mail your application to your local office, you may use original or certified copies of secondary proofs of identity such as:

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