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Form SS-5: How to Get a New Social Security Card

Most people never need to obtain a new Social Security card. A few days after we’re born, our parents fill out paperwork at the hospital, and eventually receive our Social Security card. But what if you need a replacement card for some reason? This article will show you how to file Form SS-5 with the Social Security Administration so you can quickly receive a replacement Social Security card.

In this article, we’ll also discuss:

Let’s start with some background on the form itself.

What is Form SS-5?

Social Security Form SS-5 is the application form that someone might use to do one of the following:

Let’s go through each of these purposes one at a time.

How do I obtain an original Social Security card?

For an original card, you must provide two evidence documents that provide:

If you are over 12 years of age and never received a Social Security card, you must apply for your new card in person at your local Social Security office.

Non-citizens who wish to obtain an original Social Security card

If you are not a citizen of the United States, and do not have work authorization from the Department of Homeland Security, then you must prove that you have a valid non-work reason for requesting a card for the first time. The Social Security website contains a list of acceptable non-work reasons for aliens to request an SSN:

  • Receipt of Social Security benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act
  • Medicare eligibility due to end stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • Medicaid eligibility under Title XIX
  • Temporary assistance for needy families (TANF)
  • Food stamp eligibility
  • Local and state programs

For additional details, you may need to contact your local Social Security Administration office.

Note: According to the SSA website, the SSA can only issue a Social Security card to someone not authorized to work in the United States if there is a valid non-work reason for the application. The recipient’s SSA card will be marked to indicate that he or she cannot work, and that if that person does work, then the SSA will notify the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

How do I apply for a replacement Social Security card?

If you’re replacing a lost or stolen card, then you only need one evidence document to accompany your Social Security card application. People born outside the United States will need to provide proof of their U.S. citizenship or legal residency status.

How do I update information on my Social Security earnings record?

If you wish to update your Social Security number record, you must provide acceptable documents that:

  • Prove your identity
  • Support your records change
  • Establish the reason for the records change

Examples of Social Security updates might include:

  • Changing your name
  • Updating your citizenship status
  • Correcting your date of birth

Changing your name on your Social Security record

For a Social Security name change, your evidence document must show your old name and new name. For example, a marriage license is a common document for people who change their name after getting married.

On the other hand, your divorce decree may (or may not) be an acceptable document. You may need to see your nearest Social Security office to see if this is acceptable.

If your legal name change occurred over two years ago, or there is not enough information in the original document, you may need to provide proof of identity.

Updating your citizenship status with the Social Security Administration

If you were born outside the United States, you may need to provide proof of their U.S. citizenship or legal residency status to update your citizenship status.

Updating birth information

When updating your date of birth or place of birth on your Social Security account, your birth certificate should suffice as proof.

What evidence documents are required when I file Form SS-5?

The SSA requires supporting documents for people filing SS-5. Depending on the requirement, these documents fall into one of the following categories:

  • Evidence of age
  • Evidence of identity
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship
  • Evidence of immigration status

Let’s take a closer look at each category.

Evidence of age documents

Most of the time, your birth certificate will fulfill the requirement to show proof of age. However, the SSA website also indicates that the following documents are also acceptable:

  • U.S. hospital record of your birth
    • This document is usually created at the time of birth
  • Religious record showing your age or date of birth
    • Must have been established before age five
  • Passport
  • Final adoption decree
    • The adoption decree must show that the birth information was taken from the original birth certificate

Evidence of identity documents

Proof of identity documents must contain your full legal name, as well as detailed information about either:

  • Your background, such as date of birth, age, parents’ names, etc.
  • Physical characteristics, such as height, weight, hair color, etc.

If you do not apply in person at your local SSA office, your identity document must provide evidence of your physical characteristics. The following documents can be used to meet this criteria:

  • U.S. driver’s license
  • U.S. State-issued non-driver identity card; or
  • U.S. passport

If you do not have any other above documents, and cannot obtain a copy within 10 calendar days, the SSA may accept one of the following:

  • U.S. military identification card
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Employee identity card
  • Certified copy of medical record (clinic, doctor or hospital)
  • Health insurance card, such as a Medicaid card, or
  • School identity card/record

Proof of U.S. citizenship

The following documents meet the criteria to prove U.S. citizenship:

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

Evidence of immigration status

You must provide a current unexpired document issued to you by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that shows your current immigration status. Examples include the following:

International students or exchange visitors may need to provide additional documents, such as:

Let’s move on to the SSA form itself.

How do I complete Form SS-5?

Fortunately, this SSA form is pretty straightforward. Before we get to the form itself, we should point out a couple of important items that the SSA stresses on their website.

Things to do before completing Form SS-5

The following are tips directly from the SSA website:

  • The SSA will only accept original documents or documents certified by the issuer.
    • No notarized documents or copies will be accepted
    • You will receive all submitted documents after the SSA has processed your Social Security application
  • There is a limit on the number of replacement cards the SSA will issue:
    • No more than 3 cards in a calendar year
    • Lifetime limit of 10 cards
  • If submitting this application on someone’s behalf, you must also submit documentation that you have the authority to sign for that person. You must also send documents that verify your identity, as well as the original applicant’s.
  • Complete and sign the form using black or blue ink only.
  • Be sure that the information on your completed Form SS-5 matches the accompanying documents.

Completing Form SS-5

There are 18 information fields in this form. Let’s go over them, one by one.

Line 1: Name

Enter your complete name as shown on your original SSA card: first name, middle name, last name.

If your birth name is different from the name to be shown on your replacement card, write your birth name in the provided box. Also enter any additional names or aliases you might have.

Line 2: Social Security number

Enter your full Social Security number.

Line 3: Place of birth

Enter the full place of birth. Do not abbreviate the name of the state or foreign country that you enter.

Line 4: Date of birth

As shown on birth certificate or other identifying document. If your date of birth is different from the Social Security record, add the Social Security record information in Line 13, below.

Line 5: Citizenship

Check one of the following as appropriate:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Legal alien allowed to work in the United States
  • Legal alien not allowed to work in the United States
  • Other

If you selected either of the last two fields, you must provide a document from a U.S. federal, state, or local government agency that explains why you need a Social Security number and that you meet all the requirements for the government benefit.

Form SS-5, Application for Social Security Card, questions 1-9

Line 6: Ethnicity

This question is completely voluntary. Check ‘Yes’ if you are Hispanic or Latino, ‘No’ if you are not.

Line 7: Race

This question is voluntary. If you choose to answer, you may select from one of the following:

  • Native Hawaiian
  • Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • American Indian
  • Black/African American
  • Pacific Islander
  • White

Line 8: Sex

Select the appropriate box.

Line 9: Mother’s name & Social Security number

Enter your mother’s name in Line 9a and her Social Security number in Line 9b.

For Lines 9 & 10: If you are applying for an original Social Security card for a child under age 18, you MUST show the parents’ Social Security numbers unless the parent was never assigned a Social Security
number. If the number is not known and you cannot obtain it, check the “unknown” box.

Line 10: Father’s name & Social Security number

Enter your father’s name in Line 10a and his Social Security number in Line 10b.

For Lines 9 & 10: If you are applying for an original Social Security card for a child under age 18, you MUST show the parents’ Social Security numbers unless the parent was never assigned a Social Security
number. If the number is not known and you cannot obtain it, check the “unknown” box.

Line 11

Have you (or the applicant) ever filed for or received a Social Security number card before? If so, proceed to Line 12.

If not, skip Lines 12 & 13 and proceed to Line 14.

Line 12

Enter the name shown on the most recent Social Security card issued for the person listed in Line 1.

Form SS-5, Application for Social Security Card, questions 10-18

Line 13

If your date of birth is different than what currently exists in your Social Security record, enter your Social Security DOB here and ensure that your supporting documentation verifies the information entered in Line 4, above.

Line 14: Date

Enter today’s date.

Line 15: Daytime phone number

Enter a telephone number where you can be reached, area code first.

Line 16: Mailing address

Enter a mailing address where you can receive the card within 7 to 14 business days.

This includes address, city, state, and zip code. If applying from another country, list the country’s name. Do not abbreviate!

Line 17: Signature

If you are age 18 or older and can sign for yourself, you must sign in this block.

For applicants under age 18, either you can sign the form, or a parent or legal guardian may sign on your behalf.

If you are age 18 or older but cannot sign for yourself, a legal guardian, parent, or close relative can sign for you.

If you cannot sign your name, you may enter an ‘X’ in this field, as long as two other people sign in the given space as witnesses.

Line 18: Relationship to the applicant

Simply check “Self,” if you are the applicant. If you are a legal guardian, natural parent or adoptive parent, check the appropriate box.

If you select “Other,” specify your relationship to the applicant.

Where can I find Form SS-5?

You can find an electronic copy of this form on the SSA website. You can obtain this form from your local SSA office.

For your convenience, we’ve attached the latest version of this form at the bottom of this article.