What Do I Do If I Lost My Social Security Card?

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

If you lost or misplaced your Social Security card, a replacement card from the Social Security Administration (SSA is free. The one thing that cannot be changed is your Social Security Number (SSN). Each person is issued one SSN in a lifetime. In addition to getting a new card, there are other pro-active measures to help reduce any possibility of identity theft.

Card Replacement

The SSA will replace a card for free up to three times yearly with a limit of 10 times in a lifetime. A replacement card for a name change that involves a marriage, an adoption, or a legal name change does not count against the 10 replacement.

1. Fill out a SSA Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, found at www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf . The form is used for new, replacement and name change cards.

2. Submit the form with one official, original or certified, document that verifies your identify. The document can be a birth certificate, driver’s license, or a US passport.

3. Mail the form and document to the SSA in Baltimore, MD or take the information to a local SSA office. There is an online SSN office locator at https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp, or you can call 1-800-772-1213 to get the address of a local office.

Anti-Identity Theft Actions

Credit cards, bank accounts, checking accounts, and most other forms of personal identity can be re-issued with new account numbers; everything except your SSN. To help guard against the possibility that an identity thief gains access to your social security card, you can take some preventative measures.

1. Enroll in an identity theft monitoring program.

2. Notify your financial institutions; monitor your accounts; request new accounts if you suspect any unusual transactions.

3. While there are three national credit reporting firms, you only need to report a fraud alert to one of the firms. In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission, that one firm you call is required to inform the other two companies. After reporting a fraud alert, you will have up to 90 days to request a free credit report from all three firms. Step-by-step instructions on how to place a fraud alert is available at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert.

Once you have taken all recommended actions, you might want to routinely monitor your financial reports for unusual activity and to keep your social security card in a safe location at home or in a safe deposit container with other sensitive documents.

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