How to Get a New or Replacement Social Security Card

Updated on May 30, 2020
adjkp25 profile image

I enjoy giving tips and advice to others on dealing with our Social Security Administration.

If your card is missing, this guide will help you.
If your card is missing, this guide will help you.

What Is a US Social Security Card?

Here in the United States, every citizen has a Social Security card and their own unique Social Security number. At birth, a number is randomly selected for that newborn and their Social Security card is created.

A Social Security number is a combination of nine numbers in a 000-00-0000 format. Initially, certain sets of numbers might have a direct connection to where you were born, or even when, but any associations have since been abandoned.

Our Social Security numbers have become one of the most widely recognized proofs of identification. With such an importance being put on these numbers, they have also become a way for identity thieves to pretend to be someone else to open lines of credit and run up debt.

How Do I Get a Social Security Card?

In this article, we'll look at:

  1. How a new card is issued when a baby is born
  2. What you need to do to get a new card
  3. Why you shouldn't carry your card around with you
  4. How to replace a lost or missing card
  5. Ways you can protect yourself from identity theft
  6. What the Social Security Administration requires for a replacement card

A Social Security card example
A Social Security card example | Source

How to Get a New Social Security Card

Getting a new card is fairly automatic process. After a birth occurs, the information for the new little person needs to be submitted to Social Security to get their own Social Security number.

  1. Submit Forms and Your Baby's Birth Certificate: You will need the proper paperwork. The hospital should have the forms and the original birth certificate; both need to be sent to the Social Security office. More often than not, a certified copy of the birth certificate will be acceptable if you are worried about taking the original.
  2. Wait for the Mail: The number assignment is a pretty quick process. Getting the physical card in the mail will take a minimum of a few days, but it could take a week or two depending on any possible backlogs.

How to Replace a Lost Card

Chances are that you may have lost your card, for whatever reason. Fortunately, there is a process for dealing with this.

Why You Shouldn't Carry Your Card With You

Even though everyone here in the US legally has a Social Security card and number, it is not something that you should carry around with you like you do your driver’s license or credit cards. If your card number were to fall in the wrong hands, some real damage to your credit history can occur.

If someone stole your identity, they could open up a new credit card in your name and rack up a bunch of charges very quickly. More often than not, these charges can be erased, but the time it will take you to deal with this problem can be substantial.

Step 1: Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Since identity theft has become such a big problem, procedures have been implemented to help protect consumers. It is strongly suggested that you contact all three of the big credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) if you feel the security of your Social Security card and number may have been compromised. These agencies can actually put a password on your Social Security number—hopefully before any new credit can be established.

The password works great because it protects you and can actually help capture any criminals trying to use your number illegally. Just imagine a thief trying to open a department store credit card. When the company submits the request to the credit agencies, they will see a password is on the number. The company will then ask the thief what the password is. Since they do not know what the password is, they will not get a new card and might get caught too; it is a win-win solution to a big problem.

Step 2: Report the Missing Card

Report that your card is missing to Social Security. This will put a flag on your account and protect you in a similar fashion to what the credit agencies do with the password previously mentioned above. Notifying Social Security will also begin the replacement card process. The process isn’t difficult, but it does have the potential to take a few hours of your day and some of your hard-earned money.

Social Security headquarters in Maryland
Social Security headquarters in Maryland | Source

Step 3: Begin the Replacement Card Process

To get a replacement Social Security card, you have to do a few things:

  • Fill Out the Form: Go to the Social Security website and get the replacement card form. This form needs to be completely filled in where they prompt you. It also comes with instructions as to the process for getting a replacement card.
  • Provide Photo ID: Proof of identification will be required. This requirement is usually met by providing them with your driver’s license. Where it gets complicated is when you are replacing a card for a minor. Just providing the Social Security office with a copy of a birth certificate won’t be enough—they need some kind of photo identification. If they have a school ID, that can usually count, but not all schools do ID cards anymore.
  • Visit the Office (Optional): Don’t be afraid to call your nearest Social Security office if you have any questions at all about replacing a card. Most of these offices are on a "first come, first served" basis. If you go there at the wrong time, you can wait for hours. Making sure you are ready before physically going to the office is a smart move.

Remember: There's a Limit

Unfortunately, you are not allowed to get an infinite amount of replacement cards over your lifetime. This is probably to protect you and your number—and to entice you to be more careful with your card.

How Many Times Have You Replaced Your Social Security Card?

See results

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

  • How much dose a replacement card cost?

    At this time, getting a replacement social security card is a free service. You will be required to provide some documentation to prove you are who you say that you are. For the documents needed, you can visit the Social Security Administrations website here:


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    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Idaho

      CREDITRevize - Good points. Too many companies say they are there to help you when that might not be their real intentions.

    • profile image

      CREDIT Revize 

      7 years ago from 100 Church Street, 8th Floor New York, NY 10007

      When looking for a credit repair counselor, do your homework before you sign on the dotted line. Check out their reputation with the Better Business Bureau and even your local Chamber of Commerce if they are local. Ask questions and pay close attention to the paperwork they are supposed to present you with.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Idaho

      Marcy - It is still a cumbersome process. I know we can do better but it still operates ineffectively and makes it very difficult and time consuming to replace a lost card. Thanks for the comment.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      I had to replace my card once - I had lost it many years ago, and just got by with knowing the number. Then, when I started a new job about 10 years ago, I had to present a 'real' copy of it. I'm sure the process has improved, but I recall a long line to get it done. I'm glad to have it now, though. Voted up and up!

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Idaho

      vocalcoach - Thanks for voting and commenting.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Thanks for writing this hub on the social security card. You've hit on some important features. I voted up.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Idaho

      Patty - I'm glad it was useful. Thanks

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Idaho

      Nettlemere - I'm sorry but I'm not familiar with the insurance card you mentioned.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 

      7 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Useful information that is good to know!!!

    • Nettlemere profile image


      7 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      This looks a bit similar to the uk's national insurance card but we don't get issued them until aged 16. Useful information.


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