How to Replace a Lost or Stolen Social Security Card

Updated on December 12, 2018
Ken I Cruz profile image

As a social service worker for the public for many years, I have guided people in the right direction to repair and deter ID theft.

This is obviously a fake SSN. Do not be naïve in thinking you can use this as an SSN.
This is obviously a fake SSN. Do not be naïve in thinking you can use this as an SSN. | Source

Introduction to Social Security Number

A Social Security number (SSN) is very important to an individual. If you are assigned an SSN, that means you are allowed to work in the United States of America. That's all.

Some third party agencies like banks, colleges, credit card companies, and other businesses like to use the SSN as a form of identifier, because else has your unique SSN. But that is not what the SSN is for. It is solely for a person to be allowed to be employed.

In some circumstances, an SSN can be assigned to an individual that doesn't allow them to work, and it clearly states that on the card. The Social Security Administration may do this if the individual needs an SSN to be able to receive federal or state government assistance.


Do not go to any other website other than to find or download social security forms. is run by the US federal government. If the website does not end with a .GOV than you are probably going to a phishing website and potentially be a victim of ID theft. does not charge for any services or forms. If the website is asking for a price on a form or service you received from them, you are in a fraudulent website. Do not pay for anything!

How to Replace an SSN Card

Assuming you were already assigned an SSN card, replacing a card is very simple. If you lost your SSN card or had it stolen, all you have to do is go to your nearest Social Security Administration (SSA) office. You can find the nearest office by going to and type in your zip code in the text box included in this link.

You do not have to fill out an application. They will just take walk-ins but will need a State ID or Driver's license if you are over 18 years of age. If you do want to bring an application, grab the application for

Employment Authorization Card
Employment Authorization Card | Source
Resident Card
Resident Card | Source

If Over 18

If you are over 18, the only IDs SSA will only accept are the following unexpired documents: State ID, State driver's license, or US Passport. If you are not a US citizen, you will need to also bring your Employment Authorization card or Resident card, depending on your current status with the Department of Homeland Security. If you were a resident alien allowed to work in the country and then you became a US citizen, you will also need to bring your Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship. Also, it would not hurt if you brought in your Birth Certificate. The birth certificate isn't necessary but sometimes SSA may have incorrect biographical data on you (maybe they misspelled your name, the date or place of birth is incorrect, or your parents on record is wrong). If that is true, then they can use the birth certificate to correct the misinformation, but it is not something that is vital to replacing your card.

If you are wanting to replace your SSN card because you want to change your name due to marriage, divorce, or you went to the courthouse and officially changed your name, you must bring the name change document along with your valid ID whether it is your new or old name. The name change document must either be the original or certified copy (it usually has a certified seal or a certified stamp). If it's not either or if it is a photocopy, SSA will not change your name.

To recap, if over 18, just walk in to your nearest SSA office, with or without an application, with either unexpired driver's license, state ID, or US passport.


All documents must be the original or a certified copy. SSA will not accept photocopies or notarized copies. If you do not have original or certified copies or acceptable ID, you will be turned away.

If Under 18

If you lost or had your child's SSN card stolen the same requirements are needed but there are just slight differences. If the child is between 12 to 18 years of age, they can actually request the cards themselves as long as they have valid ID as mentioned in the Over 18 section of this article. If they don't have a driver's license, state ID or US passport, then there are other ID documents that are acceptable and it applies to all ages between 1 to 18:

  • Child's driver's license, State ID, or US Passport
  • A private medical insurance card that shows the child's name and date of birth (do not bring a Medicaid card or state assistance medical insurance card, SSA will not accept it)
  • A doctor's letter that states the child's name and date of birth and signed and dated by the doctor
  • A vaccination record printed from the health department that shows the child's name and date of birth, signed and dated by the issuer of the record
  • A school record printed from the school of current enrollment that shows the child's name and date of birth, signed and dated by the school official
  • An original baptismal or religious record that shows the child's name and date of birth and the name of the religious organization
  • A current school year ASB / School ID card

If the child is under 12, then the parent or legal guardian must request the SSN replacement card with the aforementioned ID document of the child and the parent or guardian's driver's license, State ID, or US passport. If you are a legal guardian, you must bring proof, which is normally a certified copy of court documents, that shows you have custody of the child.

If the child is a US citizen but has not been updated in SSA's system, their must be proof provided such as, Certificate of Birth Abroad, Certificate of Citizenship, or US Passport. If the child is not a US citizen, SSA will need the Employment Authorization card or Resident Card.

ID Theft

Social Security Administration will not assign you a new number if you were already assigned a legitimate SSN that belongs to you. It is is possible to get a new SSN but extremely difficult. There are two extreme scenarios where you can get a new SSN:

  1. You are a victim of severe domestic abuse and you fear for your life because the abuser knows all your information and can track you down. If this happens, you can request for a new number but you must provide sufficient, detailed proof such as court documents that cite domestic abuse, medical papers that state cause of abuse, police reports, and adult protection services from the State social services.
  2. You are a victim of severe identity theft and it has cause you reprehensible harm to your credit or livelihood. If this happens, you must provide excessive proof that the ID theft has cause unbearable harm to your credit as in you cannot obtain a job or government permit and license or lost of investments. You must provide proof of harm such as credit reports, bank statements, police reports,and letters from government agencies.

Even if you are approved to receive a new number, the old number that was assigned to you will be linked to your new number. Receiving a new number will not make your problems go away in an instant. It is just a way to get a new start in your life.

ID theft is the number crime committed in the world. You must stay vigilant on preventing ID theft. Here are a few tips to prevent ID theft

  • File a police report at any instant of ID theft
  • Call the credit bureaus to request for a free credit report on yourself to see if you have any outstanding loans, bank accounts, or credit cards that do not belong to you. if you see something strange on your report, ask for a block or delete the record from your report
  • Inform banks and credit card companies about being a possible target of ID theft
  • Inform utility companies, schools, and other services you may have associated your SSN with.


Be vigilant with your identity! Do not carry your SSN card with you. Only take it with you if you have to, for instance, your employer needs to see it. Always keep your SSN card in a safe place and memorize your number.

SSA cannot do much about ID theft when it comes to credit, bank, and utility fraud. As stated in the introduction, the SSN is solely for work purposes (to allow you to work in the USA). SSA has nothing to do with credit cards, bank loans, utility bills, etc. If it is not about work or employment, SSA cannot help you.

What SSA can do though is keep control of your work history. If you somehow discovered that someone is using your SSN to gain employment, whether it's local, out of state, or international and it shows up on your work history. SSA can remove that data like it never happened.

Sometimes you will be informed by the IRS to do your taxes for a job you never held. That is a red flag warning that you should go to your nearest SSA and look at your work history. If the employment shows up on your work history, SSA can easily remove it from your record. Sometimes you are informed by a 3rd party that you have employment somewhere else other than what you stated. Visit the SSA office and check to see if there is any questionable employment on your work history. If it is not on your work history, it is probably too early to detect it. Check again after tax season, usually after April of every year, to see if the questionable employment is in your record. If so, SSA can remove it like it never happened. Controlling your work history is the only role SSA plays a part of in ID theft.


You can only apply for an SSN card online at If it is not, then you are in a fraudulent website. The only other ways you can request a replacement card are in person in the SSA office by mailing an application and the actual valid ID (no photocopies) and other necessary documents to the nearest office. Seeing that most people are reluctant to mail in there Driver's License or US Passport, then it is best to just visit your SSA office and do it in person.


To replace your SSN card, go your nearest SSA office and bring a valid, unexpired ID (as mentioned in previous paragraphs). The interview will only last a few minutes and if your local office isn't one of the busier ones, you'll be in and out in less than 10 minutes. Remember, you can only request your SSN at the most three times a year and only allowed to have ten replacement cards in your lifetime (change of names, marriages, adoptions, and divorces do not count against the ten limit).

Update: Possibly Apply Online For a Replacement Social Security Card

If your State of Residence is listed at and you have a valid driver's license from that State, are a U.S. citizen over 18 years old, and are not changing your name, you may be able to apply online at This is a way for you to avoid long lines and a drive.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

  • I just lost my ID, birth certificate, and social security card. How can I still get a new replacement social security card?

    You must get a new state id or driver's license. A US passport is acceptable too.

  • To whom do I report a stolen social security card?

    You'd report it to one of the three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax) and

  • How long does it take to receive a replacement social security card?

    Normally, between five to ten days when you order in office, and two weeks if ordered online.

  • What is the charge for a replacement SSN card?

    There is no charge or fee. SSN cards are free.

© 2014 Ken


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    • Ken I Cruz profile imageAUTHOR


      11 months ago from Seattle, WA

      @marisa bela Most likely help is to go to the US embassy in Spain. Most US embassies have a Social Security office or liaison to provide guidance.

    • profile image

      Ken I Cruz 

      11 months ago

      @marisa bela Most likely help would be to go to the US embassy in Spain. All US embassy has a Social Security office or liaison and can provide guidance.

    • profile image

      marisa bela 

      11 months ago


      i have a friend from Spain that worked in the US a few years and is now retired in Spain. He lost his SS card and has no record of the number but needs it in order to file documents for his retiree pension. He has no valid US drivers license of course and is not a US citizen. Can you please advise how he could get a replacement card or at least find out his original Social security number as that number is all he needs to provide on the retiree application in Spain? Would greatly appreciate your advise! thank you!

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      I am trying to get a replacement ss card

    • Ken I Cruz profile imageAUTHOR


      20 months ago from Seattle, WA

      @tabi If you can get a certified copy of your medical records that has your full name and date of birth or school records with your name and date of birth and you can't receive your government issued ID within 10 to 15 days, then you can use the medical or school record as ID.

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      What can you do if all your documents are lost, say in a fire, or stolen? No license no Id. Got birth cert mailed but SS won’t give a new card without license and DMV won’t give ID without SS card!

    • Ken I Cruz profile imageAUTHOR


      22 months ago from Seattle, WA

      @phil As long as there is an application filled out (SSA-5) and it's signed by your daughter and you provide any ID needed for a child replacement card, you should be able to do it for them without them being with you. You can also sign the application if you're a parent of a child under 18 if you marked the box "parent or guardian" on the a SSA-5 with your ID and child's ID and they don't have to be with you.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Can I replace my teenage daughters SSC without her being with me?

    • bodylevive profile image


      3 years ago from Alabama, USA

      I went to the Social Security Adm. when I changed my social security card name. I've never lost or had mine stolen but I did get married and had a last name change done on mine.

    • Ken I Cruz profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Yes you are correct Lisa, the birth certificate is usually not necessary but just in case SSA has your biographical information incorrect, the BC can allow SSA to correct the misinformation. The BC is needed normally when it is a first time, never issued SSN such as newborns and immigrants.

    • lisavollrath profile image

      Lisa Vollrath 

      5 years ago from Euless, Texas

      I recently had to replace my Social Security card, in order to renew my driver's license. My advice is to make an appointment through the web site, even though it says you can just come without one. I waited three hours in a very large, crowded waiting room.

      Also, although the web site said I needed an official copy of my birth certificate, and supporting documentation to prove who I was, I wasn't asked to show anything other than my driver's license. Ironic, since I needed the SS card to renew that same license, but that's Texas for you.


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