How To Get A Replacement Social Security Card

A social security card is a top echelon in the sources of means of identification. It is crucial and whether you are a U.S. citizen or not, you need a Social Security card.

When you have misplaced your card, it is important to get a replacement as soon as possible. In getting a replacement, you would mostly be given a temporary Social Security card. But not to worry, it also serves the purpose.

If you have been wondering what a security card is, why you need one and how best to get a replacement for your social security card, this article would serve as a guide.

I would outline the process for obtaining a temporary Social Security card, including copies of documents and the procedure. Keep reading.

What is a Social Security Card?

A Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary (working) residents. The number is issued by the Social Security Administration, an independent agency of the United States government. Although the original purpose for the number was for the Social Security Administration to track individuals, the Social Security number has become a de facto national identification number for taxation and other purposes.

Requirements for a replacement for a social security card

A social security card, being a means of identification, is a document. Of course, there are certain requirements you must meet before being able to get a replacement for your social security card. The acceptable documents of proof you would need are-

  • Driver’s license
  • U.S. state identification card
  • Passport
  • Proof of U.S. citizen age or date of birth:
  • Birth certificate
  • Adoption record
  • Religious record
  • Hospital birth record
  • Social Security record or letter
  • Proof of United States citizenship and/or immigration status:
  • Work permit
  • Letter from employer or school official
  • Unexpired foreign passport
  • Form I-94 (Arrival and Departure Record)

If you have legally completed a name change you would need further proof of ID, including any documents you filed to change your name and any documents that show your name before and after you changed it.

Step by step guide to get a replacement social security card

The step by step guide you may take in getting a replacement for your social security card is-

Step 1

Gather documentation

It is not enough for you to walk in and ask for a replacement. The first step to take is to gather the documents you would need. These documents have been listed above, so tick them off your list as you get them.

The copies must either be original or copies certified by the issuing agency. Photocopies or notarized copies are not accepted by the Social Security Administration. The documents must also be up to date. The SSA will not accept expired documents or receipts showing that you have applied for these documents.

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Step 2

Apply online

Fill out the Social Security card application using the documents above or create an SSA account to fill out the application online. If you decide to apply online, you will need to complete a form SS-5.

This process is no-cost and can be completed on the SSA website. If you need assistance with the SS-5 form (or any forms), a Social Security disability attorney can usually help. You can also easily use “my social security” online if you:

  • Are a U.S. citizen who is 18 years of age or older,
  • Have a driver’s license or a state-issued ID, and
  • Are not requesting a name change

It may take up to ten business days to receive your temporary new card after completing your online application.

Step 3

Visit the local SSA office

Print out and bring your application and the original documents to your local SSA office. If you filled out the application online, the site will direct you to a page where you can find the closest SSA office in your area. You can also submit your application using an online form, provided you meet certain criteria outlined below.

It is, however, recommended that you go in person for the replacement of your Social Security card.

Types of social security card replacement you can get?

There are three types of replacement social security cards you can get. However, all cards would still show your name and Social Security number. If you are not a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident, you may have a work restriction listed on your card.

The cards issued are-

#1. A card that shows your name and Social Security number and lets you work without restriction. It is issued to-

  • U.S. citizens;
  • People lawfully admitted to the United States permanently.

#2. A card that shows your name and Social Security number with the restriction, “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION”. This card is issued to people lawfully admitted to the United States temporarily who have DHS authorization to work.

#3. A card that shows your name and Social Security number with the restriction, “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT”. It is issued to people from other countries who-

  • Are lawfully admitted to the United States without work authorization from DHS, but have a valid non-work reason for needing a Social Security number;
  • People who need a number because of a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service

What steps do I take to ensure safety during the replacement process?

If you’re replacing your Social Security card because it’s been stolen, the precautions you should take are different from a person who is simply going for a replacement because their card was misplaced. Your Social Security number is a very important piece of personally identifiable information that can be used to open new credit accounts in your name, among other things, if it falls into the wrong hands. The steps you should take are-

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Step 1- Alert the authorities.

You should contact local law enforcement to file a crime report. You’ll need this later on when you alert other agencies and take action to restrict access to your credit file.

Step 2- Add a fraud alert.

Adding a fraud alert to your credit files lets creditors know you have been a victim of fraud or worry you may be a victim in the future. A fraud alert instructs creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before granting any new credit in your name.

Step 3- Check your credit.

It’s important to monitor your credit carefully after your Social Security card is stolen. If an identity thief uses it to take out a credit card or loan in your name, it will appear on your credit file. With Experian, you can check your credit report and scores for free every 30 days and get free credit monitoring.

Step 4- Freeze your credit.

If you want to go the extra mile for peace of mind, you can freeze your credit, which will prevent anyone from accessing your credit while the freeze is in place. Credit freezes must be turned on and off at each credit bureau individually. To place a credit freeze with Experian, explore the Security Freeze Center.

Step 5- Replace your card.

Obtaining a new copy of your card will make it easier to prove your identity in the future. Be sure to put your replacement card somewhere safe to help prevent it from being stolen again in the future. Avoid carrying your Social Security card with you at all times, instead only taking it out of your safe space when you need to.

Step 6- Protect yourself going forward

Once you have followed all the steps to get your replacement Social Security card, it’s wise to take action to protect yourself. You may have received a new physical card, but your Social Security number will remain unchanged, and anyone who comes into possession of your old card can use it to commit fraud. This may mean staying diligent about what’s on your credit report for years to come.

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FAQ on How to Get a Replacement Social Security Card

At what age can I get a social security card?

If you are a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address can get a social security card.

Can I replace my social security card the same day?

The fastest way to replace your Social Security card is to request a new one online. You can also visit a local SSA office in your area. According to the SSA website, it typically takes 10 to 14 business days to receive your new card once your application has been processed.

What if I can't apply for a card online?

If you can’t apply for a Social Security card online, then you will need to show the required documents in person at your local SSA office. The documents needed will depend on your current citizenship status and your age.

How much is a Social Security card?

You should fill out and print an Application for a Social Security Card and contact your local Social Security office. There is no charge for a Social Security card.

Can you get a temporary Social Security card online?

You can apply for a temporary Social Security card online, but because the SSA must print your temporary card, you may need to wait ten business days before receiving it. The application for a Social Security card, whether brand new or temporary, is best accomplished at the local office.

How often get I get a replacement for my social security card?

You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime, but there are some exceptions. For example, if you have a legal name change, this does not count toward the limit; neither do changes in immigration status that require card updates.


If you are here, you probably misplaced your social security card. I hope in reading this, you have been able to figure out the steps to take in getting a new one and in going further, steps you should take in ensuring you don’t get into trouble or lose your card again. Ensure you have all your documentation ready, but of course, you have done this before so you already know that.


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