Of course, we all know not to carry our Social Security cards around in our purses or wallet. Yet, losing our card still happens. Thankfully, if you have lost your Social Security card, do not worry. You can fill out a Social Security Card application for a new, free one.
There are three replacement avenues to receive a lost (or stolen) Social Security card. Two of the traditional routes are by mail or in person. The newer way is to use the My Social Security Account (online access).
Necessary Documents and Details
Whether you apply for your Social Security replacement card online, by mail, or in person, you need to show proof of your identity. All acceptable documents accepted proving identity must be either certified by the issuing agency or an original.
- Only Use Original, Identifying Paperwork
- No Photocopies, Notarization Unacceptable)
- Current, Not Expired
- Reference List – Dependent on Citizenship Status
For citizens born in the United States, a replacement card only requires one document. For citizens born in another country show proof of citizenship. Temporary replacement card requests shall provide proof of identity paperwork.
- Current U.S. Driver’s License, State ID or Passport (showing full legal name, date of birth (age), and physical attributes (height, weight, eye color) with a corresponding picture of yourself (attached to one of these documents).
- Non-citizens must include their foreign passport and U.S. Immigration documents (status of immigrations, whether an exchange student or an exchange visitor from the DHS).
If you do not have the above documents to show proof of identity, other acceptable forms may include a Military ID, a Certificate of Naturalization, an employee, school, health insurance, or a Medicaid card. Also, a certified copy of medical or school records, along with a decree of a final adoption record. Check with the SSA office to verify and comply.
The SSA only allows three replacement card requests per year. Also, an individual can only make up to ten per lifetime. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. If you have a questionable situation, contact the SSA for more information on these rules and guidelines.
What is a My Social Security Account
You can set up a personal, online account with the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you are eligible. The purpose of this account serves several purposes, such as filling out the electronic paperwork to complete your replacement Social Security application. After completion, you can remain up to date on its status.
Apply Online for a My Social Security Account
To begin this process, go to my SSA website page. Once at this linked SSA site, you will see the option to create your account, sign in, or complete an already-in-process account setup. Once you have an account, the steps are quite self-explanatory.
Unfortunately, the SSA does not accept all interested applicants. If you run into issues, there are several underlying factors to understand.
Perhaps, your dealings (communication, such as a recent replacement application or a name change) with the SSA are not current. Under their instructional guidelines, this may prevent you from setting up an account over your computer. In this scenario, you must visit your nearest SSA office.
- State-issued identification cards and driver’s licenses from the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia do not (yet) participate in this online application program. As states continuously begin to join in, check for ongoing updates.
- Furthermore, if your proof of identification originates from any of the following places; such as American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin or Northern Mariana Islands (all U.S. Territories), none of these areas conform for you to have online access to use this online process.
- Final Note: All participants using this online tool should be 18 years old (or older) and have a U.S. (APO, FPO, and DPO) mailing address.
Using the Mail-In or Walk-In Route
If the My Social Security access is denied or you prefer to visit the SSA office or send in yourvia mail, here is a link to the printable pdf form. If you mail in your paperwork, all original documentation is promptly returned.
- Complete Instructions, included on Form
- Only Use a Black or Blue Color Pen
- Answer Every Question
- Partial Applications are Unacceptable
Types of Social Security Cards
The Department of Social Security offers three types of cards. Each one has your printed name with an attached, unique nine-digit number. Although these cards are similar, there are significant differences between the three.
For example, one allows the recipient to work with no restrictions. Another has a limited work nature (temporary) attached (stamped on the card). The third forbids the recipient to gain employment within the United States of America.
When you apply for a replacement card, you must maintain your previous status. You cannot ask for changes of work authorizations without prior DHS approval.
- No Restrictions – Only for U.S. Citizens and Lawfully, Permanently, Admitted People
- Temporary with Restrictions – Requires DHS Approval for Lawfully Admitted Workers
- Has Restrictions – No Work Allowed, Used for a Service or a Benefit ID Purpose (Federally Mandated Law Requirement)
Be aware that no requests, such as a name change or a different type of Social Security card, are accepted for replacement status.
Main Contact Telephone Number
Note- It is wise to call (1.800.772.1213), weekdays (Monday through Friday from the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.). to make an appointment (or ask questions) with an SSA representative. Long waiting times can occur. Of course, walk-in appointments are accepted by taking a number.
How to Find a SSA Office
To find your nearest SSA office, visit the SSA office locator website page for locations. Once on this specific page, you will write in your zip code. This will immediately track a corresponding SSA office near you.
Expected Arrival Time
After filling out your application request, your new replaced Social Security will arrive in the mail to the address on file (corresponding to the posted record of your supplied documents) in two weeks.
Now that you understand the free, replacement Social Security Card options, do not become panicked. You can easily remedy this situation. You are not the first person to lose one. This can be an understandably overwhelming situation but relax. You can keep your social security number (series of numeral digits). Thus, your replacement card is new, and your identifying numbers remain the same.