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If you change your name because of marriage, divorce or another reason, notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) as soon as possible so officials can update your file and send you a new Social Security card.
You'll need to fill out Form SS-5, the standard application for a Social Security card that you can download from the Social Security website. Mail the form or deliver it in person to your local Social Security office, along with original copies of documents proving your legal name change and your identity.
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Local offices fully reopened April 7 after being closed to walk-in traffic for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Social Security recommends calling in advance and scheduling an appointment to avoid long waits. Evidence of the name change could be:
- A marriage certificate.
- A divorce decree.
- A certificate of U.S. naturalization.
- A court order granting the name change.
For proof of identity, provide an unexpired, government-issued photo ID such as:
- A U.S. passport
- A driver's license.
- A state-issued ID card.
If you don't have one of these, Social Security also might accept a school, employer or military ID card or a health insurance card.
You also may need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship if that status is not already reflected in Social Security records. Acceptable documents include:
- A U.S. birth certificate.
- An unexpired U.S. passport.
- A certification of naturalization.
- A certificate of citizenship.
- A U.S. consular report of birth abroad.
Noncitizens must provide immigration documents proving their identity and authorization to work in the United States, along with their foreign passport and a legal record of a name change. The SSA pamphlet "Social Security Numbers for Noncitizens" has details.
Your documents must be originals or certified copies from the agency that issued the original — for example, the county where you received your marriage license. Social Security will not accept photocopies or even notarized copies. The documents will be returned to you.
You will not be charged to apply for or receive the new card, which should arrive 10 to 14 days after your application is processed. Your Social Security number will not change.
The Social Security website has an interactive page with more detailed information on what you need to get a new card. For name-change requests, click the tab that says “Corrected” under “Type of card."
Keep in mind
- Failing to notify the Social Security Administration of a name change can have significant consequences. If your legal name does not match the name on your Social Security record, it could prevent the agency from crediting earnings to you or cause delays in processing your tax return.
- If you aren't changing your name but simply need to replace a lost or stolen Social Security card, you can request a new card online in most states, using your My Social Security account.