How to Change the Name on Your Social Security Card

The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires you to fill out a form and provide proof of your identity and name change to update your Social Security card. There are three ways to request a name change on your card, and you can get a new card for free.

What you need to change your name on your Social Security card

You’ll need up-to-date records, and they must be original documents or copies that were certified by the agency that issued them

Proof of identity

Because a Social Security card is a legal record, you’ll need to prove you are who you say you are. This type of document or record should include identifying information, such as your date of birth. The SSA also prefers that the documentation includes a recent photograph. You can use a:

  • Nondriver ID card issued by your state.

If you don’t have any of those records available, you can ask to use a different form of ID, such as one issued by your school or employer, or a health insurance card.

Proof of name change

You’ll need to prove to the SSA that you have legally changed your name. To do so, provide documentation that shows why you’re changing your name, such as a:

  • Court order showing the approved name change.

  • Certificate of naturalization with the new name.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you changed your name on other documentation more than two years ago, you’ll need to provide records that use your previous name. People under 18 years of age have a grace period of four years before this requirement kicks in.

Proof of citizenship

If you haven’t provided proof of citizenship to the SSA before, you’ll need to provide documentation showing your citizenship status. You can use a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport.

How to update your Social Security card

There are three ways to submit a request to change your name on your Social Security card. All three use the same application.

Submitting a request online

You can submit a request online to change your name on your Social Security card if you’re at least 18 years old and have a U.S. mailing address

Once you’ve submitted your request online, you’ll need to provide proof of identity. This must be done in person at either an SSA office or a Social Security card center within 45 days of submitting your application.

To request a name change online:

  1. Select the “Apply Now” button.

  2. Read the Privacy Act Statement, and select the “Next” button.

  3. Answer the required questions, which are followed by a red asterisk. Select the “Next” button to submit your answers and move to each new question.

  4. For the questions regarding race and ethnicity, choose whether you want to answer them. These questions are optional and don’t affect your application being approved.

  5. For documentation, choose the types of records you plan to provide and fill out the appropriate information for each one.

  6. The next page provides a summary of your information. Review it and make edits as needed. If everything looks good, select the “Next” button.

  7. On the final page, read the information and check the box to show that you understand how to submit your documentation. Once you’ve checked the box, select the “Submit Application Package” button. Your application won’t be submitted online if you skip this step.

  8. Gather the necessary documentation to prove your identity and name change.

  9. Take the documentation to an SSA office within 45 days to complete your application.

Printing out the application

If you prefer to fill out a traditional form or can’t complete the online application, you can download the application and do it offline. To do this:

  1. Decide how you want to fill it out: Download it and fill it out on a computer before printing it or print it first and fill it out by hand. Instructions for how to complete the form are on Page 3 of the document.

  2. Gather the necessary documentation to prove your identity and name change.

  3. Either mail the packet to an SSA office or go in person to submit your application and documentation.

While the agency will return any records you send, consider using certified copies to avoid losing an original document if your packet is lost.

Visiting a local SSA office

You can complete the entire process in person at an SSA office if you’d prefer to have someone help you. But the SSA warns that some offices might be too busy to see you the same day, and you may need to schedule an appointment

To make the process as easy as possible:

  1. Get the necessary documentation together to prove your identity and name change.

  2. Locate the nearest SSA office.

  3. Call the SSA office to find out if you need an appointment and to learn what the average wait time is.

  4. Take your documentation to the SSA office and fill out an application in person when someone is able to see you.

Reasons to change your name on your Social Security card

You need to keep the SSA up to date if you change your name for any reason. The following are reasons you’re likely to need a new name on your Social Security card.

  • You got divorced and want to go back to your previous name.

  • You don’t want to be associated with your birth or family name for personal reasons.

  • You now identify yourself with a new name. For example, you transitioned and now identify as a different gender than what was assigned at birth.

  • You had to amend or correct your birth certificate.

  • You recently became a U.S. citizen.

Pros and cons of changing your name on your Social Security card

The benefits of changing the name on your Social Security card include:

  • Your government and nongovernment records will match to avoid issues with proving your identity in the future.

  • Government agencies will have the same name on file, which can avoid issues like your tax refund being delayed

But there are a few downsides to changing your name on your Social Security card:

  • You have to update a lot of records, possibly including employment records, voter registration, insurance policies, utility and mortgage accounts, deeds, credit card accounts, credit reports, and doctor and pharmacy records.

  • You’ll have to get new physical IDs, including your driver’s license and passport.

  • If you file your taxes before your name change is complete, your tax return could be affected

Getting help with updating your Social Security card

If you have trouble completing the application, you can call the SSA at 800-772-1213 and tell them you need help replacing your Social Security card. Its office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Assistance is available in English and other languages.

If you’re hard of hearing or deaf, you can call the SSA at TTY 800-325-0778 for assistance.

Frequently asked questions

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top