To protect your Social Security card and number from loss or identity theft, don’t carry your card with you. Keep it in a safe place. Only take it with you when you need it to get a job, open a bank account, or obtain services from government agencies. And of course, don’t let others use your Social Security number (SSN) as their own.
If you lose your card, you must apply for a replacement by filling out Form SS-5. Your new card will have the same number. You must prove your identity when requesting a replacement card. If you were born outside of the U.S., you must also provide evidence of your U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status. If you’re not a U.S. citizen or don’t have current lawful immigration status, you must prove that you have a valid non-work reason for a new card.
If you need to correct or update information from your original Social Security record, you must complete a new Form SS-5 and submit supporting documents that verify the corrected information.
For instance, if the date of birth originally provided is not correct, you must provide a birth certificate or other evidence of your age.
To change your name, you must show evidence of a legal name change. The evidence should identify you by both your old and new names, and have information about you that can be compared with old records, such as date of birth and parents’ names. If the evidence of legal name change doesn’t provide sufficient information, additional evidence will be requested. If you were born outside the U.S., you must also provide evidence of U.S. citizenship if not already shown on your record, or current lawful immigration status.
The number of replacement Social Security cards you can receive is limited to three per year, and ten per lifetime. The SSA will not count changes in legal name or a restrictive legend (such as Not Valid for Employment) in determining the limits. They may also grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis if you can establish a need for a card beyond these limits. For instance, you may obtain a letter from a social services agency stating that you must show the card in order to receive benefits.