How do I get a Social Security Card Replacement?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 28 February 2020
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A social security card is an identifying card with a number on it that is used in the US for many different applications. Principally it may be needed to apply for jobs, while use of the number alone is acceptable under most circumstances, such as applying for credit. The Social Security Administration says most people won’t need the card if they know the number, but this may not always be true, and it’s wise to keep a card on hand for things like job applications. Those who lose a card generally don’t have much trouble getting a social security card replacement.

Online, people can visit the social security website to follow instructions for replacing a card. Alternately, they can head to a local social security office and access the same forms and instructions. People should plan to fill out an application that is about a page in length. On this form there are questions about name of parents and their social security numbers. These usually do not need to be answered unless the application is for a new card.


One hang-up for people who might seek a social security card replacement is if proper identification can’t be shown. Identification that may be required can include status to work in the US, citizenship, or residency. People will also need to bring a driver’s license, passport or state identification card that has a picture. Other documents that could be necessary would be those signifying a name change, such as a marriage license or an adoption certificate.

While it may be possible to mail in an application, it’s strongly advised that people get a social security card replacement in person. This can help eliminate any red tape if all documents aren’t included, and may ultimately prove a quicker method. People should also know that there is a limit on the number of social security card replacement attempts they may make. Generally the Social Security Administration will only let people have three in any given year and cap lifetime replacements at ten. To avoid requesting this many replacements, cards should be kept in a safe place.

By social security card replacement, some people mean they want a new number. It’s possible that an old number has been used illegally by someone else and has destroyed credit or credibility. For the Social Security Administration to grant a new number, people usually need to be able to prove misuse of their current number. This is not like a bank, and the administration won’t just issue a new number if the current card is lost. The process for application is slightly more complex and it’s advised people visit their local Social Security office to get advice on how to proceed.



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