How to Replace a Lost Social Security Card

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Your Social Security card is an important document that you should keep in a safe place, but if you happen to lose it, it can be replaced. In order to replace a lost social security card, you'll need to mail an application, which can be downloaded on the website of the Social Security Administration, to the agency or visit the local Social Security office in your area. It's free to replace the card.

Step 1

Complete the SS-5: Application for a Social Security Card in black ink on 8.5- by 11-inch paper. Visit the Social Security Administration website and print out an application (see Resources). Include your name, Social Security number, place and date of birth, citizenship status, ethnicity, sex, mother's and father's names and Social Security numbers, whether it's a replacement card, name shown on the card, phone number, mailing address, the date and your signature.

Step 2

Present proof of your identity. If you are an adult with a previously issued Social Security number, you will only need to prove your identity in order to replace a lost Social Security card. Proof of identity can be in the form of a state-issued driver's license or ID card or a U.S. passport. If you do not have these available, the SSA can accept other documents as proof of identity, at its sole discretion. Alternate documents include a military or employee ID card or a Certificate of Naturalization.

Step 3

Present proof of your identity, relationship to the child and your child's identity and age to replace a child's card. For children without a passport or state ID, the options for proving identity are somewhat limited. The Social Security office will accept original, signed documents from a medical provider, a school ID or school records or a certified adoption decree. The child's birth certificate will not suffice to prove identity, but it can be used to show your child's birth date and your authorization to sign on your child's behalf.

Step 4

Mail the application and original documents that prove your U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status, along with proof of identity. Or use the Social Security office locator to find the office nearest you (see Resources).

Step 5

Sign the card and put in a place of safekeeping. Adults age 18 and older should sign the card once it's receive in the mail about 10 to 14 days after the application is completed. Children under 18 should not sign the card unless and until they get a job and must provide it to an employer.


  • All documents submitted must be originals or copies certified by the issuing agency.


  • Keep the card in a place of safekeeping, since the law only allows you to replace a lost Social Security card a total of ten times in your lifetime, and no more than three times in a given year. Legal name changes and changes to restrictive conditions on the card (for lawful immigrants) do not count toward the limit, and the SSA may, at its discretion, waive this limit for good cause.



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