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Replacing your Social Security Card? Know before you go

 

By: Stephanie Holland, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Keeping your Social Security number card in a safe place is vital to protecting you against identity theft. Never keep it in your purse or wallet—this is the most common way people lose their card.

Getting a replacement Social Security number card is free, but you will have to provide the proper documents to get a new one. When replacing your card, you will need original or certified copies of documents, which include:

Proof of citizenship:
If you have not already established your U.S. citizenship with us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship, like your U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport.

Identity:

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age), and preferably, a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity, we must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these documents, or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within ten days, we will ask to see other documents, including a(n):

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

What’s more important than having your card is knowing your Social Security number. This is how we identify you, tally your wages correctly, and how we eventually issue you accurate retirement benefits. You might not even need your card for identification purposes if you know and consistently use your correct number.

For more information about replacing a lost or stolen Social Security number card, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Stephanie Holland is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 455 Bond St, Benton Harbor MI 49022 or via email at stephanie.holland@ssa.gov   

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