How to get your newborn's Social Security Number and Card

Last updated May 27th, 2021

Welcoming a newborn is often an exciting and happy occasion. There are plenty of things to get ready, and parents might feel that there is not enough time. However, once the child is born, parents do need to take care of a few legal matters as soon as possible . On the one hand, it’s essential that parents obtain their child’s birth certificate. Registering a birth and getting your baby’s birth certificate is a fairly easy process.

You will need your newborn’s birth certificate to apply for your child’s Social Security number and card. Keep in mind that a person’s security number must be protected as it is directly linked to their lifetime earnings, taxes, and more.

What is the purpose of the Social Security number?

The Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number which the U.S. government issues to all U.S. citizens . Eligible U.S. residents are able to apply for one as well. This number allows the government to keep track of your lifetime earnings as well as the number of years worked.

U.S. citizens need a SSN to be able to work. An employer will always ask for the social security number, and they will report your income to the Internal Revenue Service, IRS.

Instances when a person is asked to provide their Social Security card or number also include:

  • Opening an account with any U.S. financial institution
  • Applying for a federal loan
  • Applying for certain types of public assistance
  • Enrolling in Medicare
  • Applying for a passport
  • Filing your tax return
  • Getting a driver’s license

Without a Social Security number, financial institutions will not be able to run a credit check, and therefore, making it more difficult to get a credit card or a loan.

How to apply for a newborn’s social security number?

To apply for your child’s Social Security number you must complete a birth registration form. When completing this form, you must check a box to request a number for your child. It is also necessary to provide the parent’s Social Security numbers.

You may be wondering where do you get the birth registration form. Most hospitals will distribute the birth registration form after a child has born and while the mother is still a patient. If the birth did not occur at a hospital or for some reason the birth registration form was not completed, new parents can visit a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office and request the number in person. If this were the case, you need to do the following:

  • Fill out the Form SS-5 and provide the parent’s Social Security numbers
  • Provide at least two documents that prove your child’s age, identity, and citizenship status. One of these documents should be your child’s birth certificate, and the second document can be a medical record or the hospital’s birth record.
  • Present proof of your own identity, you may present your driver’s license or passport.

After you have submitted the application at the SSA office, your child’s Social Security card should be delivered between 6 to 12 weeks. If your child is older than one-year, it can take a lot longer to process your application. This is because the SSA will contact your state’s department of vital statistics to verify the validity of the birth certificate provided on the application.

If your child is born at the hospital, it will be much easier to complete the birth registration form instead of going to the SSA office. However, new parents always have the option to apply for their child’s SSN in person.

How long does it take to get a Social Security number for your child?

Generally, it takes between four to five weeks to receive the Social Security number and card if you had submitted the application at the hospital. However, this might vary depending on the state where you live. If your child’s Social Security card has not arrived within six weeks you can head to your nearest Social Security office. You will need to take proof of your child’s citizenship, age and identity as well as documents to identify yourself.

A child’s Social Security number cannot be give out over the phone, therefore it is necessary for you to go in person, in the case that it has not arrived.

Why should I get my child’s Social Security Number?

One of the main reasons to get your child’s Social Security number after they are born is so that you can claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return . You also need your child’s social security card if you are planning on:

  • Opening a bank account for your child
  • Buying savings bond for your child
  • Getting medical coverage for your child
  • Applying for government services for your child

Getting a Social Security number for your child is not obligatory, however, applying for one is an easy enough process and will benefit you and your child.

If your child is adopted, the SSA can assign them a Social Security number. You can apply for the number using your child’s new name as well as your name and details as a parent.

Getting the Social Security number and card for your child does not carry a cost, in other words, Social Security services are free.

Whether you choose to complete the birth registration form at the hospital, or head to the SSA office later on, you will certainly need an authorized copy of your child’s birth certificate. USBirthCertificates is a convenient and secure way to get your child’s vital records.

Related: How to get a replacement Social Security card Related: How do I change my name on my Social Security Card?