A Social Security card is one of the most vital forms of documentation you own. It contains your Social Security Number, which is a nine-digit number issued by the U.S. government to keep track of your lifetime earnings but also your identity. When it comes time to retire, this is key information for determining your pension eligibility. Losing your card makes it difficult to get a job, obtain other forms of identification such as a driver’s license or passport and affects your ability to open a bank account.
Obtaining a Replacement Card
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has a simple procedure for replacing a lost card, either download the SS-5 form or apply online. You are limited to three replacement Social Security cards per year and only 10 in a lifetime.
You can complete the application online if you're at least 18 years of age, are a U.S. citizen with a mailing address, are not requesting a name change or other change to the card's information and you have a valid driver's license from a state that participates in the online application program.
If you can't complete the application online, download an application at the Social Security Administration's website. You can either type your responses directly into the appropriate fields, or print the form and write your responses in blue or black ink. Sign the application using blue or black ink.
Read More: How to Order a Replacement Social Security Card Online
Include Identity Documents with your Application
Provide a document that serves as evidence of your identity. Acceptable documents include a U.S. driver’s license, identity card or passport. Provide only original copies or certified copies of the requested documents. Social Security will return the originals to you.
Submit the Completed Application and Documents
You can mail the completed application along with your originals or certified copies of your supporting documentation, or you can take everything in person to a local Social Security office for processing.
Keep Your New Card Safe
Because you are limited to how many cards you can obtain in your lifetime, be sure keep your card in a place where it is safe from loss, damage or theft. It is something that identity thieves could use to assume your identity to undertake fraud or theft, making it extra important to keep in a safe place.
You can apply online for a new Social Security Card using your "my Social Security Account" at www.ssa.gov/ssnumber. You are limited to three replacement cards per year and up to ten in a lifetime
Based in Atlanta, Renee Kristi has been writing since 2001 and her work now appears on various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Spelman College and a Juris Doctor from Georgia State University College of Law.