How To Get a Replacement Social Security Card

You can get a replacement Social Security card, free of charge, through the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are three ways to get a replacement card — online through the SSA website, through the mail or at your local Social Security office. While online replacements are the easiest, there are some situations — like if you need your name changed on your card — where you’re required to apply for a replacement card in person or through the mail.

  • Written by
    Lindsey Crossmier

    Lindsey Crossmier

    Financial Writer

    Lindsey Crossmier is an accomplished writer with experience working for The Florida Review and Bookstar PR. As a financial writer, she covers Medicare, life insurance and dental insurance topics for RetireGuide. Research-based data drives her work.

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  • Edited By
    Savannah Pittle
    Savannah Pittle, senior financial editor for RetireGuide

    Savannah Pittle

    Senior Financial Editor

    Savannah Pittle is a professional writer and content editor with over 16 years of professional experience across multiple industries. She has ghostwritten for entrepreneurs and industry leaders and been published in mediums such as The Huffington Post, Southern Living and Interior Appeal Magazine.

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  • Reviewed By
    Brandon Renfro, Ph.D., CFP®, RICP®, EA
    Brandon Renfro, RetireGuide Reviewer

    Brandon Renfro, Ph.D., CFP®, RICP®, EA

    Retirement and Social Security Expert

    Brandon Renfro is a Retirement and Social Security Expert and financial planner. He focuses on helping clients create a secure financial future in retirement and co-owns Belonging Wealth Management. He is also a former finance professor and writes for several publications.

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  • Published: March 1, 2023
  • Updated: October 20, 2023
  • 9 min read time
  • This page features 6 Cited Research Articles
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A qualified expert reviewed the content on this page to ensure it is factually accurate, meets current industry standards and helps readers achieve a better understanding of retirement topics.

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How to Cite RetireGuide.com's Article

APA Crossmier, L. (2023, October 20). How To Get a Replacement Social Security Card. RetireGuide.com. Retrieved April 3, 2024, from https://www.retireguide.com/social-security/customer-service/replacement-card/

MLA Crossmier, Lindsey. "How To Get a Replacement Social Security Card." RetireGuide.com, 20 Oct 2023, https://www.retireguide.com/social-security/customer-service/replacement-card/.

Chicago Crossmier, Lindsey. "How To Get a Replacement Social Security Card." RetireGuide.com. Last modified October 20, 2023. https://www.retireguide.com/social-security/customer-service/replacement-card/.

Key Takeaways
  • You can get a replacement Social Security card online, through the mail or in person by visiting a Social Security office near you.
  • Your Social Security card replacement should be free.
  • If you need to change any information on your Social Security card, you’ll need Form SS-5, which you will need to mail in or drop off at a local Social Security office.
  • You should typically receive your replacement Social Security card within seven to 14 business days.
  • If your Social Security card was stolen, you’ll need to take additional precautions to protect your identity.

How To Request a Social Security Card Replacement

The process to request a Social Security card replacement varies, depending on your intent. If you simply misplaced your card, or accidentally damaged it, you can request your replacement card entirely online on the Social Security Administration’s website.

However, if you need to change information on your Social Security card, the replacement process cannot be completed entirely online. You’ll need to fill out Form SS-5 and then mail or drop off the completed form at a local Social Security office. You’ll also need to supply documents to verify your identity.

Did You Know?
There is a limit on how many times you can replace your Social Security card. You can only receive up to three replacement cards in one year, or 10 replacement cards total in your lifetime. Verified legal name changes and changes in alien status do not count towards this limit.
Source: Social Security Administration

If you’re trying to get a replacement Social Security card for your spouse or elderly parents, you will need additional documentation. You’ll need to provide your own proof of identity, along with evidence of your relationship for the individual needing the replacement card. For example, you could provide your U.S. driver’s license and marriage certificate if you’re trying to replace your spouse’s Social Security card.

Be aware of factors in your life that could impact the steps you take to replace your Social Security Card.

Scenario 1: Social Security card got destroyed
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Scenario 2: Divorcing a spouse
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Scenario 3: Name or sex change
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Replacing Your Social Security Card Online

Login to your My Social Security account to order a replacement card online. Remember that this is only an option for those needing a simple replacement. Fully online services aren’t for individuals looking to change their name or sex on their Social Security card.

4 Steps To Replace Your Social Security Card Online
  1. Once you're logged into your My Social Security account, click on the “Replacement Documents” tab on the right of your home screen. Then select “Request a Replacement Card.”
  2. Verify your email address, select the location where your driver's license was issued and answer the background questions.
  3. Fill out all information to verify your identity, like your Social Security number and date of birth.
  4. Once your information has been verified, you’re all done! Your replacement Social Security card will arrive in seven to 14 business days.

There are several qualification requirements you must meet to order a replacement Social Security card online.

Online Social Security Card Replacement Requirements
  1. You must be a U.S. citizen 18 years or older
  2. You must have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card from one of the participating states or the District of Columbia
  3. Have a U.S. mailing address
  4. Have a My Social Security account
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How To Complete Form SS-5

If you are not qualified to request a replacement card online, you might need to fill out Form SS-5. Form SS-5 has 18 sections that must be fully filled out for the SSA to accept your request for a Social Security card replacement. If you’re using a pen to fill out the form, the SSA only accepts black or blue ink.

Failure to fill out the form correctly will delay your replacement Social Security card. Luckily, the form is straightforward, and shouldn’t provide much difficulty.

Sample Form SS-5
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A Visual Guide Of The 18 Steps To Completing Form SS-5
18 Steps To Completing Form SS-5
  1. Fill in your first name, full middle name and last name as you want them shown on the card. If you had a different name at birth, fill it in this section as well.
  2. If you previously had a Social Security number, write it here. If not, leave this section blank.
  3. Enter the city and state or foreign country where you were born.
  4. Enter the month, date and year you were born.
  5. Check the appropriate box to indicate whether you are a U.S. citizen, legal alien allowed to work, legal alien not allowed to work or other. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you should contact the SSA to see if any additional documentation is needed.
  6. Select the boxes indicated if you’re Hispanic or Latino. This step is optional, you do not need to fill it out.
  7. Check the boxes that apply to you.
  8. Select your sex. While there isn’t currently an option for nonbinary individuals, it is an option they’re considering in the future.
  9. Input the names and Social Security numbers for each of your birth parents, or check the “unknown” boxes if you don’t have this information.
  10. If you’re applying for the replacement card on behalf of a minor, you must supply the parents’ Social Security numbers, unless they were never issued one.
  11. Have you ever filed for or received a Social Security card before? Or, if you’re applying on behalf of someone else, has that person ever filed for or received a Social Security card? If your answer is “No” or “Don’t Know” you can skip to item 14.
  12. If your answer to number 11 was yes, you’ll need to answer questions 12 and 13. In this section, provide the name associated with the previous card.
  13. The individual listed above’s date of birth.
  14. Provide today’s date.
  15. List a good daytime phone number.
  16. Provide the mailing address where you want your replacement card to arrive.
  17. Sign the form.
  18. If you’re filling out this form for yourself, check “self.” If you’re filling out this form for someone else, check the box that identifies how you’re related to them.

You can find further details about the application process, as well as the form itself, on this informational PDF provided by the Social Security Administration.

Documents You Need To Include With Form SS-5

You must provide documents that prove your identity, age and U.S. citizenship.
Generally, you will need to provide your birth certificate and your U.S. driver’s license. If you don’t have these documents readily available, the SSA will accept alternatives. Some documents, like your U.S. passport, proves both your identity and U.S. citizenship.

Acceptable Alternative Documents To Prove Your Identity and Age
Alternative Document for Your Birth CertificateAlternative Document for Your Driver’s License
U.S. hospital record of your birthU.S. state-issued non-driver identity card
Religious record established before age five showing your age or date of birthU.S. passport
PassportU.S. military identity card
Final Adoption Decree, only if the birth information was taken out of the original birth certificate Medicaid card
Health insurance card

If you’re an immigrant or international student, you will need to include additional documents with your Form SS-5. Contact Social Security’s customer service to verify what forms you may need.

All documents must be originals or certified copies by the issuing agency. The SSA does not accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents with a Form SS-5.

The SSA requests that you don’t mail original primary documents that should be kept secure in your possession, like your driver’s licenses, passports or immigration documents. These should be dropped off at a local Social Security office. This way, you don’t risk losing them in the mail.

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Submitting Your Application for a Replacement Card

If you’re submitting your application for a replacement Social Security card online, it’s a simple click of a button. But if you need to make changes to your Social Security card, the submission process is more complex.

You’ll need to turn in your completed Form SS-5, along with original or certified copies of documents proving your identity, age and U.S. citizenship.

You can give the Form SS-5 and required documents to the SSA through the mail or drop it off at a local Social Security office.

Submitting by Mail

You can mail your Form SS-5 and required documents to any Social Security office. To get the quickest approval, mail your documents to a Social Security office near you.

The SSA has an online tool to help you locate their nearest office. You’ll need to type in your zip code to find your designated office.

Once you send your documents, the SSA doesn’t keep them forever. After your information has been verified and approved, the SSA will return any important documents you send to them.

Submitting in Person

If you want to avoid the wait time that comes with mail or skip the risk of losing important documents in the mail — you can always submit your replacement card request in-person.

You can drop off your Form SS-5 and required documents to any Social Security office near you. Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to set up an appointment beforehand to avoid a wait.

Additional Steps To Take if Your Card Was Stolen

If your Social Security card was stolen, you should take several other precautions before requesting a replacement card from the SSA. Social Security fraud is on the rise in 2023, with many scammers opening new bank accounts and stealing older adults’ identities.

If your Social Security card was stolen, you should:
  • Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission online and call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245. The Federal Trade Commission can help you with next steps and the IRS can help assure that the scammer won’t try to file taxes under your name.
  • Add a fraud alert to your credit and check your credit score regularly. A scammer can open new lines of credit in your name and tank your score. You can freeze your credit if you feel at risk.
  • Once you’ve taken the other precautions, it would then be a good time to replace your Social Security card.
Last Modified: October 20, 2023

6 Cited Research Articles

  1. Social Security Administration. (2022, December 12). How Long Will It Take To Get a Social Security Card? Retrieved from https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-02196
  2. Social Security Administration. (2022, February 2). Accepting Documents With a Non-binary Sex Designation or “X” for Enumeration Requests. Retrieved from https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/reference.nsf/links/02022022010306PM
  3. Internal Revenue Service. (n.d.). IRS Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/FS-13-03.pdf
  4. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Application for a Social Security Card. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf
  5. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Code of Federal Regulations. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/422/422-0103.htm
  6. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Replace Your Social Security Card. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/replace_your_card.html