Recently my teenage daughter landed her first official job, and her employer needed to see a copy of her Social Security card. But I have no idea where I’ve stored it. It wasn’t in our safe deposit box, and a search of all the other places I may have put it turned up nothing. We needed to get a replacement card fast — but how?
If you lose your Social Security card you will have to order a replacement card from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Unfortunately, a simple phone call will not do the trick. Instead you will have to supply verification of your identity, either in person at a Social Security office, or by mail.
Documents must show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. Examples of acceptable documents include a U.S. driver’s license; state-issued non-driver identification card; or a U.S. passport. (There are alternatives if you don’t have any of those.)
If you were not born in the U.S. and have not established citizenship with SSA, you’ll need to provide acceptable proof of citizenship as well.
My daughter already has a driver’s license, but a year ago she didn’t. Nor does she have a passport yet. That’s probably the case with many children. So for them, the documentation requirements are a little different. A birth certificate may prove age or citizenship, but as the SSA states, “Social Security needs evidence that shows the child continues to exist beyond the date of birth.” Therefore, you’ll have to produce with documentation showing the “child’s name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents’ names) and preferably a recent photograph.” Medical records or a school ID are a couple of examples they provide.
In addition, a parent must provide their own proof of identity, and, if required, proof of citizenship or a current Department of Homeland Security document such as a green card.
You’ll find complete information about the documents you’ll need on the Social Security Administration website here.
Don’t Forget The Next Step
If you’ve lost your Social Security card, replacing it is just one step. That number can make you an easy target for identity theft, so you should take additional steps to protect your identity, especially if you suspect the card may have fallen into the wrong hands. Here’s what to do:
- Get your free annual credit reports to make sure you recognize all information reported there.
- Keep a close eye on your credit scores for abrupt changes, which could signal fraud. You can get a free credit report snapshot updated monthly through Credit.com.
- If you notice suspicious activity, consider placing a fraud alert on your credit reports. In severe cases, a credit freeze may be appropriate (here’s how a credit freeze works and some other helpful tips if you’re considering this option).
Note that monitoring your credit is an ongoing task. Once your information is compromised it could be at risk for years to come.
How Long Does It Take?
We opted to go to the local SSA office to request my daughter’s replacement card. Arriving when the office opened, we were seen and out of there in about 15 minutes. She was given a letter indicating that a card had been requested, which she was able to show her employer. A week later her new card arrived.
This time it is going into the safe deposit box for safekeeping.
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