By law, your Social Security card must show your current legal name. If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other legal reason, you must inform Social Security as soon as possible so they can issue you a corrected Social Security card.
- Federal law requires that Social Security cards display the cardholder's current and correct legal name.
- In the event of a name change resulting from marriage, divorce, court order or any other legal reason, the cardholder must notify the Social Security Administration as soon as possible and apply for a corrected Social Security card.
- Applications for a corrected Social Security card cannot be submitted online. Applications may only be submitted at a Social Security field office or by conventional mail.
- There is no charge connected with applying for a corrected Social Security card.
Failure to inform Social Security of your name change could cost you money by delaying your tax refunds and preventing your wages from being added to your Social Security account record, which could reduce your future Social Security benefits.
There is no charge for getting a corrected Social Security card, however, because of the documentation you must provide, you cannot apply for one online.
To get a corrected Social Security card, you need to:
- Download and print out a Form SS-5 - Application for Social Security Card.
- Fill out the application and assemble the required proof of identity documents (see below).
- Take or mail the application and all required documents to your local Social Security office.
Documents Serving as Proof of a Legal Name Change
You will need proof of your current legal name. In some cases, you may also need to show proof of your current U.S. citizenship or legal permanent resident (green card) status.
Documents Social Security will accept as proof of a legal name change include original or certified copies of:
- Marriage licenses;
- Divorce decrees;
- Certificates of naturalization showing a new name; or
- Court orders for a name change.
Note: All documents submitted must be either originals or copies certified by the agency issuing them. Social Security will not accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.
A “certified” copy of a document will typically have a raised, embossed, impressed, or multicolored seal placed on the document by the issuing agency. Some agencies will offer a choice of certified or non-certified copies and may charge an extra fee for certified copies. When needed for Social Security purposes, always request a certified copy.
If Your Documents Are Too Old
It is important that you notify Social Security of your name change as soon as possible.
If you legally changed your name more than two years before applying for a corrected Social Security card, or if the documents you provide do not give enough information to fully identify you, you may also be required to provide two additional identifying documents including:
- At least one document showing your old name; and
- A second document with your new legal name.
Proof of Citizenship
If Social Security tells you that you need to prove your status as a U.S. citizen, they will accept only an original or certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport.
Foreign-born citizens, including naturalized citizens and immigrants with legal permanent resident status, may be allowed to use:
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
- Certificate of Report of Birth
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad
Proving Your Identity
If you do need to provide Social Security with further proof of your identity, they will accept only current documents showing your current legal name, date of birth or age, and a recent photograph. Examples of such documents include:
- U.S. driver's license;
- State-issued identification card; or
- U.S. passport.
If you do not have any of those documents, Social Security might accept other documents, such as:
- Employee identification card;
- School identification card;
- Health insurance card (other than a Medicare card); or
- U.S. military identification card.
Your Number Will Not Change
Your corrected Social Security card - which will be mailed to you -- will have the same Social Security number as your old card but will show your new name.
Protect Your Social Security Number
Speaking of Social Security numbers, they are the main thing identity thieves need to rob you blind. As result, Social Security has long advised that it is rarely necessary to show anybody your Social Security card. “Do not carry your card with you. Keep it in a safe place with your other important papers,” advises the Social Security Administration.