August 8, 2022

Get a Replacement Social Security Card

Have no idea where your Social Security Card is? Lost it? Had it stolen? You’re not alone. Social Security Card replacement is a popular search on the web. Despite all efforts to keep this document in a “safe place,” as time goes by many of us discover it’s easy to forget exactly where that safe place is, to misplace the card, to move it somewhere else, or worse—to have it stolen.

Usually you’ll apply for a replacement Social Security Card in the case of lost or stolen cards. Other circumstances, such as a legal name change, do not necessarily require you to replace your card, but to instead apply for a correction.

Instructions for Replacing Your Card

The Social Security Administration’s website gives clear instructions for replacing your Social Security Card.

What you’ll need to get a replacement Social Security Card:

  • An application. The application can be used to apply for a new card, to change information on your card, or to get a replacement card. You can download this application directly from the Social Security Administration website and the card is free.
  • Proof of identity and age, which could include a variety of documents depending on your situation. American adults may use a current driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, health insurance card, and/or legal identification card.
  • Foreigners with approval to work in the U.S. may be required to present immigration documents, as well as other legal identifying documents to get a replacement card.
  • Submit your application and required documents. You can either visit a local Social Security office and submit your application in person or you can mail it along with your original documents. The SSA will return documents to you if you submit your application by mail.

Why Do You Need to Replace a Lost or Stolen Social Security Card?

You don’t necessarily. If you have committed your Social Security number to memory and are not a foreigner who needs up-to-date documentation for living and working in the country, you could likely manage well for years without it. And a lot of people do just that. Best advice: if there’s a chance you could be required to present your Social Security Card at any point, apply for the replacement. Given plenty of time for processing, getting a replacement card is relatively easy…and free.

Beware Fraudsters

Unless you’re really careless and forgetful and need more than 3 “replacement” cards a year, you should not have to pay any money to get another Social Security card. Ten is a lifetime limit imposed by the SSA. And you can apply for up to three cards in any given year and still get them for free. Do not pay anyone for a replacement card. Businesses on the web may promise to give you a new Social Security Card if you pay them a fee. But replacement cards are free when you go through the official Social Security Administration.

Visit the Social Security Administration website ( ) for details on getting your lost or stolen Social Security card replaced.