How to Change a Child's Name on a Social Security Card

You must have a Social Security number to open a bank account, buy savings bonds, obtain medical coverage and apply for certain government services. Parents can usually apply for a Social Security number for their child when filling out a birth certificate. Since 1990, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), anyone claiming tax liability for a dependent child over the age of 1 must provide the dependent's Social Security number. It is relatively easy to correct or change the name on your child's Social Security card.

Fill out an application for a Social Security card (Form SS-5). If the child is under 18, a parent or legal guardian may sign for him.

Read More: How to Find My Child's Social Security Number

Place application in envelope.

Include an original document of legal name change for your child in envelope.

Place an original document of your child’s old name in the envelope. This must include a photo ID or enough information to identify your child, such as height, eye color or hair color. For example, a hospital record of his birth, a religious record established before age 5 showing his age or date of birth, a passport or a final adoption decree (the adoption decree must show that the birth information was taken from the original birth certificate) are acceptable substitutions.

Include original document of your child’s new legal name in the envelope. This must include a photo or enough information to identify your child such height, eye color or hair color.

Place an original document of your identity (or the parent submitting the application) proving your name, identifying information and a recent photo. Acceptable documentation includes a driver's license, state-issued identity card or passport. If you do not have one of the documents above or cannot get a replacement within 10 working days, the Social Security Administration may accept other documents that show your legal name and biographical information, such as a U.S. military identity card, Certificate of Naturalization, employee identity card, certified copy of medical record (clinic, doctor or hospital), health insurance card, Medicaid card or school identity card or record.

Mail the package to your local Social Security office. You will receive the originals back after the Social Security Administration has completed their review. In most cases, you can also take these documents to your local Social Security office. Visit the SSA locations link in the resources section for the address of your local office.


  • There is no charge for a Social Security Card. The Social Security Administration can only accept original documents or documents certified by the custodian of the original record. If the child’s name changed more than two years ago or if the name change document does not have enough identifying information, you must also provide documents to prove the child’s identity in his prior name or, in some cases, his new legal name. Documents without an expiration date should have been issued within the past two years for adults and within the past four years for children. The Social Security Administration does not accept a birth certificate, hospital souvenir birth certificate, social security card stub or a social security record as evidence of identity.


  • If you have further questions or need help finding your local Social Security Administrative office, call SSA at 800-772-1213.

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