How to Replace your Social Security Card

A lost Social Security card can be used in identity theft. Someone can use your Social Security number to illegally apply for a job or open credit cards in your name for which you could be held legally responsible. Because of this you should protect your Social Security card by storing it in a protected place. Only carry it with you if you need to present it to an employer when starting a new job or when opening a new account at an institution, such as a bank. In most cases, you will only need to provide the number and not the physical card.

The good news is you can replace a lost Social Security card through your local Social Security office for free in three simple steps.

Step 1 – Collect documents to prove your identity and your U.S. citizenship or immigration status.

To prove your identity, you will need to produce a non-expired document that shows show your name, your date of birth or age, and a recent photograph. A current driver’s license, state-issue ID card, or passport will meet the requirements for proving your identity. Other documents that you can use to prove your identity can be found on the Social Security Administration website.

To prove U.S. citizenship, you will need to produce a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S. passport, or a Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship. These must be original documents or agency certified copies, not photocopies that you’ve made of an original.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need to prove your immigration status by producing the I-94 form, Arrival/Departure Record, issued when you arrived in the United States. If you are a student or exchange visitor, you will need to provide more documentation. Because you will need a different form depending on your situation, you should check the Social Security website for the exact forms needed in addition to the I-94.

Step 2 – Fill out the application to replace your Social Security card.

Download, print and complete the application for Social Security card in black or blue ink. You can also call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to get a copy of the application for a Social Security card replacement.

Step 3 – Take or mail your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office or your local Social Security Card Center.

You can find a location for your local Social Security office using the Internet or by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.

If you mail your documents to the Social Security office, you will receive your returned documents along with a receipt. You should receive a new Social Security card within 10 business days from the date on your receipt after your documentation has been verified.

Your replacement Social Security card will have the same number as was on your lost card.

Be aware that there are limits to the number of times you can replace your Social Security card. You are limited to 3 replaced cards per calendar year and 10 total replacement cards in a lifetime. So, once you’ve received your replacement card, make sure to store it in a safe place.