A Step-by-step Procedure of Social Security Card Replacement

Social Security Card Replacement
In case you have lost your Social Security Card and don't remember your Social Security Number (SSN), you will need to apply for a replacement card. This article will take a look at the steps involved in this process.
OpinionFront Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Losing your social security card can be an anxious moment for anyone. After all, it is a must for gaining employment and receiving government benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a provision wherein you can apply for a replacement card. The whole process takes just a couple of weeks and your replacement card is mailed to you. To apply for a social security card replacement, you will need to go through the following steps:
  1. Prepare all the necessary documents.
  2. Fill-up the application form for social security card - Form SS-5.
  3. Mail the form along with the documents to your Social Security Center.

Documents Needed for Social Security Card Replacement
1. Proof of Identity
  1. US driver's license
  2. Non-driver identification card
  3. US passport

These are the primary documents that are accepted by SSA. However, if you are not able to produce these primary evidence documents, you can also use the following as identity proof.
  1. Employee ID card
  2. Life Insurance Policy
  3. Any identification card issued by a government agency
  4. Certificate of Naturalization
  5. Certificate of Identification

(You can get more information on valid identification proof by calling on SSA helpline number 1-800-772-1213)

If you are yet to become a citizen of the United States, you will need to produce an evidence of your current immigration status. The documents you will need to produce include:
  1. Green card or alien registration card, officially known as Form I-551
  2. Form I-94, which denotes the arrival-departure record of foreigners
  3. I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

(Please note that you will need to present these documents in original. If you have a copy of these documents, it is mandatory for them to be certified by the issuing agency. Notarized copies are not accepted by SSA.)

2. US citizenship
  1. US birth certificate
  2. US passport
  3. Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship

3. Immigration Status (for non-US citizens only)
  1. I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card)
  2. I-766 (work permit)
  3. I-94 (Arrival-departure record)

Foreign students can submit their Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status (I-20). Students with Employment Authorization Document (I-766) are exempted from providing a proof of employment, however, others need to submit a secondary evidence which can be a letter from the school and a proof of employment from the employer.

Once you have all the necessary documents, you need to fill the application form, Form SS-5. You can download the form from the SSA website. After filling in all the details, you need to mail it to your nearest social security center along with the required documents. Some states need you to come in person with the application form and documents.

Applicants can expect to receive their new social security card within 10 business days along with their mailed documents and a receipt. There are no charges for replacing your social security card. Also, it is important to remember that you can apply for 3 replacement cards in a year and 10 replacement cards during your lifetime. However, if you need a replacement due to legal issues or to update your citizenship, you are allowed as many replacements. Replacement to avoid any hardship is also exempted.

Note: If you have lost your Social Security Card, but still have your social security number (SSN), you may not really need a replacement card as in most transactions, you only need to quote your SSN. Only in rare situations, you will be asked to show your original social security card.