Your birth certificate and social security card are considered vital records by the U.S. government. You can replace them fairly easily, with a minimal amount of legwork. In both cases, you need to provide specific identifying information. Replacing your birth certificate and your social security card require separate applications. Apply to replace your birth certificate first, as you may need it to submit your social security card application.
Replacing a Birth Certificate
Find out the government agency charged with maintaining vital records for the state in which you were born. Depending on the state, the responsible agency is typically the Department of Human Resources or the Department of Public Health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an online database of vital record agencies by state.
Call the responsible agency to verify the current fee schedule and the information you'll need to provide to receive a copy of your birth certificate. Although policies vary by state, typically you will need to provide your full name at birth, the full names of the parents listed on the certificate, your date of birth, sex, city or county of birth, the hospital you were born in, and a copy of a government-issued ID.
Mail the required information along with a check or money order for the current fee to the responsible agency. Fees vary by state and typically range from $10 to $20. Expect to wait two to three weeks to receive a certified copy of your birth certificate by mail. Some states offer faster service through local health departments. In some cases, you can get a certified copy in under an hour when you apply for your birth certificate in person at a county health department in the state where you were born. Call ahead to determine whether this service is available.
Replacing a Social Security Card
You can access the application form for a social security card online at www.socialsecurity.gov, or visit your local social security office. Social Security Online (SSO) provides a database of local offices by zip code.
Complete the application and gather the required supporting documents. You will need to present proof of citizenship and identity. Accepted documents are typically a birth certificate and a government issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, a state-issued non-driver card, or a passport. If you are replacing a child's card you'll need a medical, religious, or school record showing "your child's name, identifying information, and preferably a recent photo," according to SSO. In some cases, your child may need to be present. Check with your local office to be sure.
Mail or return your application in person to your local social security office.
- Birth certificates are confidential documents and will only be released in most states to the person named on the birth certificate, or to a parent or legal guardian, spouse, child, or sibling of the person named.