Social Security Number, abbreviated as SSN, is actually a national identification number issued to the citizens of the United States and also to temporary and permanent residents of the country.
It is a nine digit number allocated under section 205(c)(2) of the Social Security Act, which is issued by the Social Security Administration. Though, it was earlier used to identify individuals for the purpose of taxation, it has become more of a national identification number.
In cases, where 2 or more individuals share the same name or date of birth; it can lead to confusion while retrieving an individual's personal information. So social security number is used as a unique number for various purposes such as keeping student data, employee files, patient records, health insurance accounts, banking accounts, and credit records.
It is issued to every citizen of the US on a social security card. Its benefits are many and some of them include retirement benefits, disability benefits, and other government grants. So if your card is stolen, lost, or misplaced you must immediately apply for a new one. We will discuss the replacement procedure in detail.
Replacing Your Card
In case of stolen cards, the first step would be to contact the local city state and federal authorities immediately to let them know about the loss of the card. It is also essential to inform the banks, credit card companies, and other financial agencies that you are in the process of getting a replacement.
Losing your card can be a very stressful time but replacing is a simple procedure. You need to keep all your documentation ready to prove your identity at the Social Security Administration office.
Step 1 - Download and Fill the Form
The necessary forms are available as 'Application for A Social Security Number Card' form also known as Form SS-5 on the official website. Download the form, there is also an instruction page that one can follow, in order to fill out the application form.
Step 2 - Locate the Office
For locating the offices close by your area, you need to go to the official website and type in the zip code of the area you live in. The Social Security Office in the area will show up on the subsequent page.
Step 3 - Gather all Documents and Proofs
Before going to the office and submitting the form, you need to gather some important documents which can act as proof of citizenship and proof of identity. Though the office would have information on your citizenship in their files, it is better to carry the important documents with you.
For proof of citizenship, documents like US birth certificate, US Passport, US Consular Report of Birth, Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization would be accepted. As proof of identity you need to have US passport, US Driver's license, or a state issued ID card. For non-U.S. Citizens, the current US immigration documents are required.
Step 4 - Submit the Form
After filling the form completely and attaching the necessary documents, one has to go to the designated office and submit the form for approval. The cost is borne by the issuing authorities and the card is made available to the individual free of cost. The new card will be delivered to your mailing address within seven to ten working days.
Being an important proof of nationality and identification, there should not be a delay in applying for a new card. As one can get a new social security card only three times in a year and ten times during his or her lifetime, it is important to keep it safe.