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How To Get a Social Security Card Replacement in 2024? (The Best Guide)

Get a Social Security Card Replacement

A Social Security card is a critical document in the United States. Issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA), it contains essential information, such as your unique nine-digit Social Security number (SSN). 

Your SSN is necessary for various purposes, including obtaining employment, receiving benefits, and filing taxes. In any case, you need a Social Security card replacement if it is lost, stolen, damaged, or when you have a change of name. 

This article will provide you with a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to get a social security card replacement.

Reasons for Needing a Social Security Card Replacement

There are several reasons you might need to replace your Social Security card, such as:

Loss or Theft

Losing your card or having it stolen may put you at risk of identity theft. It is crucial to act quickly and apply for a replacement to minimize potential misuse of your SSN.

Social Security Card


If your card becomes damaged or illegible, it may not serve its intended purpose. You will need to replace it to ensure you can use it for identification and other purposes.

Name Change

If you recently had a name change due to marriage, divorce, or other reasons, it is essential to replace your Social Security card to reflect the updated information accurately.

Required Documents for Replacing Your Card

When replacing your Social Security card, you must provide specific documents to prove your identity, citizenship, and, when applicable, evidence of a legal name change. 

These documents must be original or certified copies, as photocopies and notarized copies are not acceptable. The required documents are divided into three categories:

Proof of Identity

You must provide a document that verifies your identity, such as a valid U.S. driver’s license, U.S. passport, or a state-issued non-driver identification card. 

If none of these options apply, the SSA may also accept other forms of ID, such as a school ID card, employee ID card, or military ID card.

Proof of Citizenship

If you were born in the United States, you should provide your U.S. birth certificate as evidence of citizenship. 

If you have become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, submit your Certificate of Naturalization. In some cases, you might not need to provide proof of citizenship if the SSA already has this information in their records.

Proof of Name Change

If you are applying for a replacement card due to a name change, you need to provide additional documentation. 

For name changes related to marriage or divorce, you can submit a marriage certificate or divorce decree. In other cases, such as a court order, adoption documents, or a Certificate of Naturalization with your new name, these can serve as proof of your name change.

Social Security card replacement

How To Get a Social Security Card Replacement: Top 3 Methods Explained!

There are three methods to apply for a Social Security card replacement: online, in-person, or by mail. 

However, the online and mail-in processes both depend on meeting specific criteria.

Online Application

The easiest way to apply for a replacement card is through “my Social Security account”. 

However, this method is only available for U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older, possess a valid driver’s license or state ID, and are not requesting a name change or any other changes to their card. To apply online, follow these steps:

  • Create or sign in to your “my Social Security account”.
  • Select “Replace Documents,” followed by “Request a Replacement Card.”
  • Fill out the required information, upload the necessary documents, and submit your application.

Once your application is processed, you will receive your new card in the mail within 7 to 14 business days.

In-Person Application

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for online applications or prefer to apply in person, you can visit your local Social Security office. To apply in person, follow these steps:

  • Gather your required original documents or certified copies.
  • Download, print, and complete Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card).
  • Locate your nearest Social Security office using the Social Security Office Locator.
  • Visit the office and submit your application along with the required documents.

The SSA representative will verify your documents, and you will receive your new card in the mail within 7 to 14 business days.

Mail-In Application

You can also apply for a Social Security card replacement by mail. However, this method is not suitable for those needing a name change or who cannot submit their original documents. 

To apply by mail, follow these steps:

  • Gather your required original documents or certified copies.
  • Download, print, and complete Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card).
  • Mail your application and required documents to your nearest Social Security office. Make sure you mail your documents via a secure method, such as registered mail, to ensure their protection.

Once your application is processed, your documents will be returned to you, and you will receive your new card in the mail within 7 to 14 business days.

Social Security card replacement

Pro Tips for a Successful Application

Here are a few tips to ensure your Social Security card replacement application proceeds smoothly:

  • Review your documents carefully, and ensure they meet the SSA’s requirements.
  • Double-check your application for any errors or omissions, as it could result in delays.
  • Keep track of the status of your application by calling SSA’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 or by checking your my Social Security account for updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I laminate my Social Security card?

No, laminating your card is against SSA guidelines, as it may interfere with security features and render the card invalid.

How many times can I replace my Social Security card?

You can replace your card up to ten times during your lifetime, with up to three replacements allowed in one year.

Does it cost money to replace a Social Security card?

No, there is no fee to replace your Social Security card.

Do I need to report my lost card to the police or the Social Security Administration?

While not mandatory, it is a good idea to report a lost or stolen card to your local police department to mitigate potential identity theft risks.


Replacing your Social Security card is a necessary task when faced with loss, theft, damage, or a name change. 

By understanding the required documents and application methods, you can ensure a quicker and more efficient process. 

Remember to apply as soon as possible to prevent potential misuse of your SSN and protect your personal information.