How do I change my name on my Social Security card?

There are different reasons why people have to change their name. For instance, marriage, divorce or a court order. Regardless of the reason, if you have changed your name or are about to, you will need to update several documents. You will also need to change your name on your social security card. The process of applying for a social security card for a name change is similar to the process of getting a social security replacement card.

The social security number is a nine-digit number that the government issues to all U.S. citizens and eligible U.S. residents. The reason why it is important to change your name on your social security card is so that you can get the benefits you’ve earned. The government uses your social security number to track your lifetime earnings and the number of years you have worked. If you change your name and don’t update it, you might face issues in the future when you wish to collect your benefits. You might have issues as well if you lose your job and are not able to apply for unemployment benefits.

The Social Security card is also necessary to apply for Medicare or get your driver’s license. It is essential that you update your card as soon as possible after legally changing your name.

How to change your name on your Social Security Card

There are several steps you need to follow in order to change your name on your social security card.

Proof of U.S. citizenship

In order to prove your legal name change, you will need to prove your U.S. citizenship. In order to demonstrate that you are a U.S. citizen you can present a U.S. birth certificate or a valid U.S. passport. You can only bring original copies, or in the case of the birth certificate, a certified copy.

  1. If you are a foreign born U.S. citizen, you also need to produce a certificate of Naturalization (N-550/N-570), Certificate of Citizenship (N-560/N-561), Certificate of Report of Birth (DS-1350), or Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240, CRBA).
  2. If you are a non-citizen residing in the U.S., you will need to show proof of your legal residency. These may be Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa), I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit), I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record), or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport.

Proof of your name change

Part of the process of updating your name on your social security card also means that you need to produce proof of your name change. In order to do so, you will need a recently issued document that proves your name change. The document must have been issued within the past two years. All documents must be originals. You can provide on of the following:

  • Marriage document
  • Divorce decree
  • Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name
  • Court order approving the name change
  • In case you are updating a Social Security card for a child, you will need to provide a final adoption decree with the new name, a court order approving the name change, or an amended with the new name

Bring proof of identity

Besides needing to present proof of citizenship, you must also present proof of your identity. The document must be current and unexpired and should show your name, date of birth or age, and have a recent photograph. The document must be an original as photocopies will not be accepted.

Any of the following documents can be used to prove your identity:

  • U.S. driver’s license
  • State-issued non-driver identification card
  • U.S. passport (you can use your passport to prove both your citizenship and your identity)
  • School identification card
  • Employee identification card
  • Health insurance card (Medicare card does not count)
  • U.S. military identification card

Complete the application

If you have all the necessary documents, you should get a copy of the application form. You can either download and print the form, call the Social Security Administration Office at 800-772-1213 to request a copy, or you can visit a Social Security Administration Office near you to pick up a copy of the application.

Once you have the application, you can proceed to complete it. Read the instructions carefully and fill it out accordingly. Be sure to sign it when you are finished as the application cannot be processed without the signature. If the application is for a minor, the parent or guardian must mark the box that indicates the relationship to the applicant.

Submit the application

The final step of the process is to submit the completed application with all of the required documents. Applications for replacement cards are taken at all Social Security offices, you can find the one closest to you. You can only submit your application for social security card by mail or in person.

Your social security replacement card should be issued within 10 business days after the application has been received and processed. Your original documents will be returned to you in the same package.