How to get a new Social Security Card

To replace a lost or stolen Social Security Card an application, and a minimum of two items of documentation proving identity and citizenship status are required to be mailed or delivered in person to a local Social Security Office. The application is processed through the Social Security Office and then if approved, a replacement card will be issued. Social Security offices can be found using the Social Security Office locator.

The Social Security Agency requires all documents submitted with a replacement Social Security Card application to be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. For example, if a driver’s license is submitted to prove identity, a copy of that license must be certified as authentic by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Original documents are returned to the applicant after the replacement Taxpayer ID Card is issued. Non-citizen Adults are required to provide authentic work and immigration related documentation.

Typical documents requested include drivers license, U.S. passport, residency card, birth and naturalization certificates. The Social Security Agency may verify some documents with other government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security. Non-expired identity documentation with name, age and a recent photograph of the applicant does not necessarily have to be government issued, however citizenship documentation must be government issued.   

The replacement card issuance takes approximately 7-14 days after having processed the application according to the Social Security Agency. The application processing time is not specified so it may be safe to assume as long as a month with processing. By calling 1-800-772-1213, from 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. on weekdays, applicants can check the processing status of their replacement card. Calling during off peak hours is also recommended.
Since a Social Security Card is an important personal document, the Social Security Agency recommends also filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Crime Complaint Center if the card is stolen. Checking the accuracy of annual Social Security Statements is also advised The Social Security Agency itself states it does not need to be informed of theft if the Social Security Card is stolen.

Social Security Cards may also need to be replaced in the case of marriage or name change to reflect one’s new legal identity according to Social Security Online. In such case, the risk of identity theft is not as high as when the Taxpayer ID Card is lost or stolen. When changing name for marriage or other purposes, an application is also required, however different documentation is also required to verify the legality of the name change. For example, a marriage certificate to confirm change of last name.

To avoid potential loss or theft several preventive techniques can be utilized. For example, Social Security Cards are often not required for daily activities, but rather during government or employment background checks. For this reason, not carrying a Social Security Card can be a good idea to protect the card from wear and tear, and to protect identity in the case one’s purse or wallet does get stolen. Keeping the card in safe, well-protected place when it is not being carried also protects it from further loss or damage.