It's been years since you last saw your Social Security card, and now an employer or financial institution is asking you to produce it.
You've torn the house apart searching for it, but without luck. So now you have to replace it.
The Social Security Administration allows you to replace a lost or stolen card up to three times a year, but no more than 10 times during your lifetime. (Getting a replacement card because of a name change doesn't count toward your limit.) Since November 2015, the agency has processed 157,000 requests for replacement cards.
There are a few ways to replace a card. Here's what you need to know:
The easiest way to apply for a replacement card is online.
Since late 2015, Social Security has been rolling out an online application process that is now available in several states and the District of Columbia. To apply online, your U.S. citizenship must be verified through your records with Social Security. You must also have a mySocialSecurity online account, a U.S. mailing address and a current driver's license or state-issued identification card.
Social Security will then compare your identifying information, such as name and date of birth, with its records. It will also verify your driver's license or state ID card with your state. To check if your state is
If you can't apply online, you can print out the application and submit it — and your documents — by mail, or take them to your local Social Security office or Social Security card center. Look online for the mailing address of the nearest Social Security office or card center. Consider sending them by certified mail so you will have a record that they were received.
You'll need to provide documents. They must be originals or copies certified by the agency issuing them. No photocopies, no notarized paperwork and no expired documents.
If Social Security doesn't have a record of your U.S. citizenship in its files, you will need to provide proof, such as a birth certificate or passport.
You'll also need proof of age and identity, such as a current driver's license, a state ID or passport. If you don't have any of these documents and can't get them within 10 days, Social Security will consider other forms of identification, such as an employee or school ID, a U.S. military ID card or a health insurance card — although not a Medicare card.
You should receive your card within 10 business days after your application is approved and processed.
Got questions? Contact Social Security at 800-772-1213.
And once you get your new card, put it in a safe place. After all, there are limits on how many times you can replace a card.