You can replace a lost or stolen Social Security card up to three times in a year and up to 10 times during your lifetime. Getting a new card because of a change in your legal name or citizenship status does not count toward the limits.
You can request a placement card online, by mail or in person at a local Social Security office.
Replacing your Social Security card online
To request a replacement card online, you must have a My Social Security account and meet these requirements:
- You are a U.S. citizen age 18 or older.
- You are not changing the name on the card.
- You have a U.S. mailing address (military and diplomatic addresses count).
- You live in a state that shares its computer data with Social Security. As of April 2022, 46 states and the District of Columbia do so. (Alaska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and West Virginia are the exceptions.) The list is updated regularly, so check the Social Security website to see if your state's status has changed.
Replacing your card by mail or in person
If you don’t have an online account or don’t meet any one of the other criteria listed above, you’ll have to fill out an application form and either mail it or take it to your local Social Security office.
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 the Social Security Administration (SSA) recommends calling in advance and scheduling an appointment to avoid long waits.
You’ll need to provide what the SSA calls "primary" proof of identity — either a passport, a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID card. If you don’t have any of those, Social Security will ask to see a current, “secondary” ID that shows your name; identifying information such as age or date of birth; and, preferably, a recent photograph — for example, an employee, student or U.S. military ID or a health insurance card (but not a Medicare card).
Social Security typically requires the original of your primary ID document, or a copy certified by the agency that issued it. Photocopies, even if notarized, are not accepted.
However, the SSA advises against mailing “original primary documents that should be kept secure in your possession.” As an alternative, you may send secondary evidence of identity, or contact your local office about dropping off your evidence or making an appointment. Social Security will return any documents you do submit once they process your new card.
Your new Social Security card should arrive in the mail in 10 to 14 days. There is no charge.
Keep in mind
To change the name on your Social Security card, you will need to provide proof of your new name — for example, a marriage certificate, adoption papers or a court order granting the change — and proof of identity and citizenship. These must be originals or certified copies. If you don’t have any of those documents, Social Security may accept an unexpired, state-issued identity document in your new name, provided they can match it to your old name in their records.
Updated April 8, 2022
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