Changing Name on Social Security Card

OpinionFront Staff Oct 3, 2018
Changing name on Social Security card because of marriage or adoption doesn't take much work. Read more to find out, how easy changing name on Social Security card really is.
We all know that the main purpose to have a Social Security card and number is to track our funds in our Social Security account. However, there are two major reasons of changing name on social security card - marriage and adoption.
When a woman gets married and decides to take her husband's last name or a family has adopted a child, you have to give this information to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The point here is that the name on your tax return has to match with the name which has been registered with the SSA.
This is done by changing the name and avoiding to do so may impact your tax refund, Social Security account and other benefits. So instead of worrying about all the disadvantages, why not follow the procedure mentioned next and get things in order.

Changing Name After Marriage

If you live in Orlando, Florida, Sacramento County, California, Las Vegas, Nevada, Greater Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, or New York City Metropolitan Area, New York, changing your name online is not an option. You will have to go in person, as the application cannot be mailed or completed online.
Apart from following the steps for a name change after getting married, this procedure can also be followed if an individual gets a divorce.
  • First and foremost, visit the SSA website to download and print the Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card in black and blue ink. If you wish, you can also visit any Social Security office personally or call the Social Security toll-free number to know where you can get the form.
  • Even though you are married now, you will have to provide proof that you are still the same person. Just the fact that you wish to be known by a different name. You will have to present your marriage certificate as a legal document that will show your old and new name.
  • If you've gotten a divorce and have taken your previous last name, you'll have to inform the SSA by filling out Form SS-5.
  • You will also need to prove your legal citizenship and/or immigration status. Other acceptable documents for proof can be a U.S. driver's license, state-issued identity card, birth certificate and U.S. passport.
If for some reason you can't provide these documents, SSA will ask for a valid school identity card, employee identity card, U.S. military identity card and a healthy insurance card (except for Medicare).
  • If you are a legal immigrant, you will have to provide proof of work in the United States. Acceptable documents can be either Form I-551 (Green Card), I-94 (Arrival and Departure Record) and I-766 or I-688B (Work Permits) along with your valid passport.
  • Complete the Form SS-5 along with all the original documents mentioned here and take them to the local Social Security office. If you want to mail the form and documents, instead of mailing the originals, you can send certified copies and not photocopies.
  • After completing the necessary procedures, you will be given a new card that will have the same number. The only difference is, your name will have changed to what you have selected.

Changing Name After Adoption

If you have adopted your spouse's child or through any adoption agency, you'll need to make sure that the child has a SSN. After adoption, changing the child's name is vital, if you wish to claim tax liability for that child (generally over the age of 1). Since 1990, SSA requires the dependent's SSN and card information in order to accept the claim.
  • Visit the SSA website to download and print the Form SS-5 in black or blue ink. If the child is under the age of 18, a parent or a legal guardian will need to sign for him/her. Complete the application and place it in an envelope.
  • You will need to prove your child's age and identity. Acceptable documents are your child's original (foreign) birth certificate, original copy of the final adoption decree, your original photo identity card and original U.S. issued birth certificate. Remember, photocopies and certified copies are not acceptable, so be sure to send only originals.
  • Your child's citizenship also needs to be proved. So, make sure to bring with you or mail his/her U.S. passport or the certificate of citizenship. If you can't provide proof of the child's citizenship, then he/she won't be eligible to work in the U.S.
After you have the passport or certificate of citizenship of your child, be sure to contact SSA again and submit the documents, in order to change eligibility status.
  • Mail the envelope to the local Social Security office. The SSA will return the originals to you after their review is completed.
As for the cost, this service is free. Filling out the necessary paperwork is the right way to go about it. Make sure that you do not delay in changing the name as it may only delay your tax refund.