Questions about Social Security Card Number

To Apply for a Social Security Card Number:

Complete an ‘Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5)

Bring original documents or certified documents proving your

  • US Citizenship or immigration status
  • Age
  • Identity

Bring to a Social Security office near you, or mail your completed application and documents.

*There is no charge for a Social Security card and number.

Different Types of Cards

There are 3 different types of cards that can be issued by the Social Security Administration.

  • The first, shows your name and social security number and is issued to US citizens and people lawfully permitting to live in the United States permanently.
  • The second shows your name and number with notes, “valid for work only with DHS authorization.” This is issued to people who are lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis with DHS authorization to work.
  • The third card shows your name and number with the note, “not valid for employment.” It is issued to people from other countries:

-who are lawfully admitted to the United States without work authorization from the DHS, but with a valid reason for needing a social security number.

-who need a number due to a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service.

Social Security Card Questions

How can I protect my Social Security Number?

You should keep your Social Security Card in a safe place with other important information. Do not carry it around with you unnecessarily. Be selective about who you give your Social Security number. If your Social Security number is requested ask why it is needed; How it will be used; and What happens if you refuse. Based on the answers you can decide if you want to give your Social Security number out.

How to Contact Social Security

Visit for more information and forms or call 1-800-772-1213 (deaf or hard of hearing can call 1-800-325-0778). All calls are confidential and specific questions are answered from 7am – 7pm Monday through Friday.

How do I make sure my records are accurate?

A tax and wage statement called a W-2 is sent to Social Security by your employer each year. Your name and Social Security number are compared between the information on the W-2 with the information from your files. The earnings on the W-2 are added to your Social Security record. You can review your Social Security Statement online.

How to do a Name Change

If you need to change your name with the Social Security Administration due to divorce, marriage, or any other reason, you must contact the SSA as soon as possible to prevent mix up with your tax information and social security benefits later in life.

Required Name Change Documents

Depending on the circumstances behind your name change, the SSA will require one or more of the following documents:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree
  • Court order for a name change
  • Certificate of Naturalization displaying your new name

*Be sure to have a photo ID such as a passport or drivers license available upon request.

Social Security Card Name

Additional Documents for Adoption or Naturalization

In addition to a court order or Certificate of Naturalization, provide:

  • One proof of identification with your former name. The SSA will accept an expired document.
  • One proof of identification with your new name. This document MUST be valid.

Additional Documents for Citizenship

If you are a U.S. citizen born outside of the country and the SSA does not have you listed as a U.S. citizen, you will need to provide proof of your citizenship. Check with the SSA for acceptable documents.

If you do not have U.S. citizen status, be prepared to provide your current immigration documents.

*You will recieve a new Social Security card with your new name however, your Social Security number will remain unchanged

Changing Your Name with the SSA

Step 1: Obtain an “Application for a Social Security Card” form at your nearest Social Security office. You can also download the form from the Social Security website.

Step 2: Gather necessary documentation that must accompany the form. (see above)

Step 3: Complete the “Application for a Social Security Card” completely and legibly.

Step 4: Mail the form (using certified mail) and supporting documents to address listed on the Social Security Administration website. Expect to receive your new Social Security card in 7 to 14 days. If you don’t feel like mailing these important documents, you can visit your nearest SSA center.