How To Replace A Lost Social Security Card

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

While the Social Security card itself is not as important as simply remembering your Social Security number, there are instances in which having the card on hand is not only helpful but necessary.

You may replace your Social Security card up to three times in one year and up to ten times in your lifetime. Exceptions to this rule include for a legal name change, citizenship status change or if you need to get the card to prevent significant personal hardship.

Gather Identity Documents

To get a new Social Security card, you will need to prove that you are who you say you are. Acceptable identity documents include originals or certified copies of:

  • U.S. Passport
  • Driver's license
  • State I.D. card

If these are unavailable, other acceptable identity documents include:

Prove Your U.S. Citizenship Or Authorization Status

Only U.S. citizens and legal immigrants may receive a Social Security card. In order to replace your lost Social Security card, you need to prove your legal status. Common citizenship documents used include originals or certified copies of:

  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. birth certificate
  • U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of Citizenship

If you are not a citizen, you need to show that you are permitted to live and work in the United States to replace your Social Security card. Required documents include one of the following:

Fill Out And Deliver The Application

Gathering the identity documents will be the most difficult part of this process. Once you've done so, you will need to fill out a standard form, Form SS-5, with your name, Social Security number, other identifying information, parents' names and parents' Social Security numbers.

Once you've filled out Form SS-5, you may either mail it with your certified copies or take it and your original documents to the Social Security office near you. The replacement card will generally arrive within 2-4 weeks, which is a standard amount of time for government agencies. It will have the same name and number as your original card.

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