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Getting a Replacement Social Security Card

If your Social Security card has been stolen or lost, you can apply for a new card. The Department warns that it is not always necessary to have the card, as long as you know what your SSN is. There are some strict rules in place as regards how many times you can apply:

  • Annually, you can get up to three replacements in a single year
  • Overall, throughout your life, you are allowed a maximum of ten replacement cards
  • If you get your name legally changed, you qualify for card replacement and this will not count towards the maximum limits
  • If your immigration status changes and the card needs to be changedas a result, you get an additional replacement
  • Special circumstance cases will be considered, despite these limits. You can apply again if the card will prevent you from experiencing a serious amount of hardship

The Rules Regarding the Documents to Submit

The government is not playing around here; you cannot send a plain photocopy or even a notarized copy of the documentation. If you cannot, for whatever reason, send in your originals, you can go to the government agency that originally issued them and ask them for a certified copy.

All documents presented must be legally valid. So, if your driver’s license has expired, for example, you’ll need to apply for a new one or use another document to prove your age or name.

How to Apply

You can apply via the following methods:

  • Online: Go directly to the department or an agency website that offers this service. To use this service, you must be 18 years or older and have a mailing address in the United States to receive your card
  • By mail: You’ll send in the application and the requisite documents
  • In person: You’ll need to go to the nearest Social Security office with your documents and apply that way

What Are These Documents?

Proof of Citizenship

If you have not already established that you are a United States citizen with the department, you’ll need to provide either your U.S. birth certificate or passport.

Proof of Identity

You will need a document that shows your name and your date of birth. A government-issued photo ID is preferable.

Think of providing your:

  • Driver’s License
  • ID card
  • Passport

Again,all of these documents must have been issued in the United States. Should you not have any of these, or they have expiredand you cannot get them replaced, then you may submit the following:

  • Your work ID
  • A valid school ID
  • Your health insurance card, as long as it’s not Medicare-related
  • An ID issued by the armed services


It’s essential that you provide a different document to prove your identity and that you are a citizen. A passport, for example, could prove both but the rules state that you will also need a second document. Get everything together and make sure it is all correct or your application with be declined.

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