Home > Identity Theft > Who Do I Call If I Lost My Social Security Card?

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Article Update July 24, 2018.

If you lose your Social Security card, you’ll have to order a replacement card from the Social Security Administration (SSA). But unfortunately, a simple phone call will not do the trick. Instead, you will have to apply online using a my Social Security account or supply verification to a Social Security office in person or by mail.

Online Application for a Replacement Social Security Card

To apply online with a my Social Security account, you’ll need to meet all the following criteria:

  • You are an 18-year-old or older US citizen with a US mailing address
  • You have a driver’s license or other state-issued identification from a specific list of states
  • You are not requesting any changes to your card, including a name change

In-Person or Mail Application for Replacement Social Security Card

If you don’t meet the criteria for an online application, you have to apply in person at the local social security office or by mail. And you’ll need to gather a few documents to supply verification to the SSA office.

Documents must be current (not expired) and must show your name, date of birth or age, and—when applicable—a recent photograph. And they have to be originals, not photocopies.

There are two separate categories of documents, and you’ll need one from each:

  • Citizenship
    • US birth certificate
    • US passport
  • Identity
    • US driver’s license
    • State-issued non-driver identification card
    • US passport

If you don’t have any of the documents from the Identity category and can’t get a replacement in 10 days, you can use another current document. It still needs to show your name, date of birth or age, and preferably a recent photograph. The following cards are often acceptable forms of ID:

  • School identification card
  • Employee identification card
  • US military identification card
  • Health insurance card other than a Medicare card

If you were not born in the US and have not established citizenship with SSA, you’ll need to provide acceptable proof of citizenship as well. 

Children’s Application for a Replacement Social Security Card

While some teens may have their driver’s license already, many minors don’t. And if your child doesn’t have a passport yet, you may have to dig around for alternative documentation.

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” to replace a lost social security card.

Therefore, you’ll also have to produce a more recent document with their name, identifying information, and—if possible—a recent photograph.

There are a few documents you could use:

  • Adoption Decree
  • State-issued non-driver identification card
  • Doctor, clinic, or hospital record
  • Religious record
  • School identification card

In addition, a parent must provide their own proof of identity and, if required, their proof of citizenship or a current Department of Homeland Security document such as a green card. 

How Long Does It Take?

If you can get to a local SSA office just before opening, you can get in and out of there in about 15 minutes. If you can only go later in the day, the wait time could vary from location to location.

After they process your application, they’ll give you a letter indicating that a card has been requested, which you can show to employers or other parties who request a Social Security card. Your new card will arrive within two weeks.

For online or mail requests for a replacement card, the application process could take a tad longer. But after your application is processed, you can expect your new card within two weeks.

Once you get your card, be sure you keep it in a safe place only you or trusted family members can access, such as a safe or lockbox.

Don’t Forget the Next Step

If you’ve lost your Social Security card, replacing it is just one step. A lost card could 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 a free annual credit report 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 every 14 days 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. 

Why You Should Replace a Lost Social Security Card

After reading all of this information, you may be thinking about what a hassle it may ultimately be and what an enormous amount of time it is going to take for you to replace one lost social security card. So, why go through all the trouble?

The social security card and number is one of the single most important documents and information you will need throughout your lifetime. It is used anytime you are hired for a job, when you open an account with a financial institution, when you apply for any type of federal loan, when you retire, when you apply for any form of public assistance, your tax return, and so many other things.

While you may only need to remember the social security number, the card is still an important government-issued document that should still be in your possession. When ordering a replacement card, try to avoid ordering through any company that wants to charge a fee for the replacement card.

Each individual can get up to three replacement cards per year with a maximum of ten replacement cards over their lifetime. Keep in mind also, however, that these limits don’t count in the case of a legal name change.

Note that monitoring your credit is an ongoing task. Once your information is compromised, it could be at risk for years to come.

If you’ve lost your Social Security card, use the information above to get your replacement. And remember to keep a vigilant eye on your credit activity to ensure your Social Security number hasn’t fallen into the wrong hands.

If you’re concerned about your credit, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year. To track your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades—plus you get a free credit score updated every 14 days.

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.

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