Question: I lost my Social Security card, should I get a new one?
Answer: If you know your Social Security number, you may not need a replacement card. You can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen, but you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. For more information about your Social Security card and number and for information about how to apply for a replacement, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. If you believe you’re the victim of identity theft, read our publication Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10064.html.
Question: We adopted a baby girl overseas and brought her home with us to the United States. We need to get a Social Security number for her. What do we do?
Answer: In general, to apply for a Social Security number for your child you must:
- Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5) for your child, which you can find online at www.socialsecurity.gov;
- Show us documents proving your child’s:
- U.S. citizenship or immigration status;
- Age; and
- Show us a document proving your identity; and
- Show us evidence that establishes your relationship to the child if your name is not listed as the parent on the child's evidence of age. The adoption decree or the amended U.S. birth certificate will suffice.
You can take your application and original documents to your local Social Security office, or you can mail them to us. All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. If you do not yet have proof of your child's citizenship, we can assign a number based on documentation issued by the Department of Homeland Security upon the child’s arrival in the United States. When you do receive documentation of your child's citizenship, you can bring it to us, and we will update your child's record. We will mail your child’s number and card as soon as we have verified your documents with the issuing offices.
Question: How do I update or correct the name on my Social Security card?
Answer: To update or correct the name on your Social Security card:
- Complete an Application for A Social Security Card (Form SS-5), available at www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ss-5.pdf;
- Show us original documents proving your legal name change, identity, and U.S. citizenship (if you have not already established your citizenship with us), or immigration status if you are not a U.S. citizen; and
- Take or mail your completed application and original documents to your local Social Security office. Note that we must see originals and cannot use photocopies. We will return any original document you mail to us.
Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Question: I received a notice from Social Security recently. It said my name and Social Security number do not match Social Security’s records. What should I do?
Answer: It’s critical that your name and Social Security number, as shown on your Social Security card, match your employer’s payroll records and your W-2 form. If they don’t, here is what you need to do:
- Give your employer the correct information exactly as shown on your Social Security card or your corrected card; or
- Contact your local Social Security office (www.socialsecurity.gov/locator) or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) if your Social Security card does not show your correct name or Social Security number.
For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Question: Are Social Security numbers reassigned after a person dies?
Answer: No. We do not reassign Social Security numbers. In all, we have assigned more than 460 million Social Security numbers, and each year we assign about 5.5 million new numbers. The current system has enough new numbers for several more generations. For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Question: What should I do if an employee gives me a Social Security number but cannot produce the card?
Answer: Seeing the card is not as important as putting the correct information on the worker's Form W-2. You can verify employee Social Security numbers by using the Social Security Number Verification Service. Just go to www.socialsecurity.gov/bso. This online service allows registered employers to verify employee Social Security numbers against Social Security records for wage reporting purposes. If the employee recently applied for a Social Security number but does not yet have a card when you must file the paper Form W-2, enter the words “Applied for” on the Form W-2. If you are filing electronically, enter all zeros (e.g., 000-00-0000) in the Social Security number field. When the employee receives the card, file Copy A of Form W-2C, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement with Social Security to show the employee's number.
Question: I’m getting a summer job and I can’t find my Social Security card. Do I need to get a new one?
Answer: Ask your potential employer if he or she needs to see the card or if just the number is required. Knowing your number is usually what is important. If you do need to get a replacement card, come to your local Social Security office or Social Security Card Center and show us documents proving your identity and, possibly, citizenship. You can go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber for more specific information about the process of getting a new card and where to take your information. At that website, you can also download a copy of the simple application to have pre-filled when you visit.
Question: Can I get a new Social Security number if someone has stolen my identity?
Answer: We do not routinely assign a new number to someone whose identity has been stolen. Only as a last resort should you consider requesting a new Social Security number. Changing your number may adversely affect your ability to interact with Federal and State agencies, employers, and others. This is because your financial, medical, employment and other records will be under your former Social Security number. We cannot guarantee that a new number will solve your problem. To learn more about your Social Security card and number, read our online publication on the subject at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10002.html.
Question: I'm expecting a baby. What do I need to do to get a Social Security number for my baby?
Answer: You can apply for a number at the hospital at the same time you apply for your baby's birth certificate. The State agency that issues birth certificates will share your child's information with us, and we will mail the Social Security card to you. You can learn more about Social Security cards and numbers by reading our online publication on the subject. Just visit www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10002.html.
Question: I applied for my child's Social Security card in the hospital but have not received it. How long does it take?
Answer: In most states it takes an average of three weeks to get the card, but in some states it can take longer. To check for the average wait time in your state, consult the chart at http://ssacusthelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/74.
If you have not received your child's card, and the time frame has expired, please visit your local Social Security office. Be sure to take proof of your child’s citizenship, age, and identity as well as proof of your own identity. And remember, we cannot divulge your child’s Social Security number over the phone. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Question: Is it illegal to laminate your Social Security card?
Answer: No, it is not illegal, but we discourage it. It’s best not to laminate your card. Laminated cards make it difficult, sometimes even impossible, to detect important security features and an employer may refuse to accept them. The Social Security Act requires the Commissioner of Social Security to issue cards that cannot be counterfeited. We incorporate many features that protect the card’s integrity. They include highly specialized paper and printing techniques — some visible to the naked eye and some not. Keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.