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If your Social Security card is lost or stolen you can replace it for free through the Social Security Administration (SSA) website, by visiting a local SSA office or through the mail. If you don't need a card right away and you know your number, you may not want to go to the trouble, because you are not required to have an actual Social Security card.
Keep in mind that you may need to show one to a new employer at some point. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. There are some exceptions. For example, if you have a legal name change this does not count toward the limit. Neither do changes in immigration-status that require card updates.
What Is the Process of Getting a New Social Security Card?
Getting a replacement Social Security card involves just three steps:
Step 1: Gather Documentation
You'll need to gather some important original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency from where they were issued photocopies or notarized copies are not accepted by the Social Security Administration). The paperwork needed is used to prove the following:
- Citizenship: You must show proof of your U.S. citizenship such as a U.S. birth certificate or a U.S. passport.
- Age: You must show proof of your age with a birth certificate, U.S. hospital birth record, U.S. passport or religious record made before the age of 5 showing your date of birth
- Identity: You must prove your identity showing a U.S. driver's license, state-issued ID card, U.S. passport or employee ID card, school ID card, military ID card or health insurance card (not a Medicare card)
All of the documents have to be up-to-date as the SSA will not accept expired documents or receipts showing that you have applied for these documents.
Step 2: Apply Online
Step 3: Visit the Local SSA Office
Print out and bring your application and the original documents to your local SSA office. If you filled out the application online, the site will direct you to a page to find the closest SSA office in your area. You can also submit this application using an online form, provided you meet certain criteria we've outlined below.
Getting a Replacement Social Security Card Online: Extra Requirements
Yes, you can 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. You must also have a driver's license or a state-issued identification card from one of these states. If you meet those requirements then you can set up an account on the SSA site to request a replacement card.
Can I Replace My Social Security Card the Same Day?
The fastest way you can replace your Social Security card is to request a new one online. You can also visit a local SSA office in your area and call them to check how long it would take them to process a request for a replacement card. According to the SSA website, it typically takes 10-14 business days to receive your new card once your application has been processed.
What if I Cannot Apply for a Card Online?
If you can't apply for a Social Security card online, then you will need to show the specific documents needed in person at your local SSA office. Those documents needed will depend on your current citizenship status and your age.
Different documents are needed if you are an adult and a U.S. born citizen, a foreign-born U.S. citizen, or a noncitizen. Also, if you are replacing a social security card for a child, you'll want to check the SSA website to determine which documents you will need.
What if My Social Security Card Was Stolen?
If you think your Social Security card has been stolen or is lost then you should contact your local police department to file a report. You can also contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 1-800-772-1213 or go online to ask for a Social Security Card replacement.