Your Social Security Number is more important than your actual Social Security Card in most cases, but if you’ve lost your card, had a name change, or want a new card for some other reason, it makes sense to replace it as soon as possible. (Name changes in particular require notification to Social Security.)
In some cases, you can apply for a replacement Social Security card online, but only if you are 18 with a US mailing address AND you are not changing your name AND you have a state ID from Idaho (must be driver’s license), Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota (driver’s license only), Pennsylvania (driver’s license only), Washington, Wisconsin (driver’s license only), or Washington DC (driver’s license only). If you meet ALL of those criteria, you can apply for a replacement Social Security Card online.
If you don’t meet all of those criteria, you’ll need to apply for your replacement card in person or by mail. In most cases, it will be easier to do it in person because of the documents you’ll be required to provide. For example, you will need:
- Either your U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport to prove citizenship
- A driver’s license or state ID or U.S. passport to prove your identity. (You may be able to use other documents at the discretion of the agency, such as a military, school, or employee ID, but you should count on needing the state ID or passport to avoid delays and hassles.
- A completed application. You can find one online here, or get it from a local Social Security office.
- IF you are getting a new Social Security Card because of a name change, you must also provide proof of the change, meaning marriage or divorce documentation, Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name, or a court order approving the name change.
Once your documents are ready, you can bring them to your local Social Security Office.
As mentioned above, you also have the option to mail them in to your local Social Security office as well. However, you must provide either original documents or certified copies from the agency that issued the documents. This means you would either be sending your ID through the mail, which seems a little dangerous, or you’d have to go to whatever agency issued your other documents in order to get copies. That will no doubt be a hassle. (You can NOT send photocopies you’ve made yourself.)