Getting Married Soon? Give Social Security Your New Name

Wedding-SeasonEvery year, June marks the beginning of two busy seasons: summer and “wedding season.” With joyful expectation, many of us have already marked our calendars and started wrapping up our plans for the vacations, ceremonies, and honeymoons. While the betrothed work out the details, Social Security wants to remind them about one detail that’s extremely important: the “record” Social Security keeps of your life’s earnings.

For many people, a wedding often means a name change is in order. If you are legally changing your name, you need to apply for a replacement Social Security card reflecting your new name. If you’re working, also tell your employer. That way, Social Security can keep track of your earnings history as you go about living your wonderful new life.

If you have reported income under your former or maiden name, and didn’t inform us of a change, we might not have received an accurate W-2 and your earnings may have been recorded incorrectly. This is easier to fix now — when you first change your name — than years from now when you retire, when it may cause delays in receiving your benefits. This is important because we base your future benefits on your earnings record. So, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber, or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), to find out what specific documents you need to change your name and to apply for a replacement card.

Last year, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry regardless of where they live within the United States. As a result, Social Security recognizes more same-sex couples as married for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits or eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. We recently updated instructions for employees to process claims and appeals when a determination of marital status is necessary.

With these changing rules, we encourage anyone who believes they may be eligible for benefits to apply now. You can learn more about our policies for same-sex couples at www.ssa.gov/people/same-sexcouples.

After the honeymoon, you can focus on your career or starting a family, moving to a new home, and securing a well-deserved retirement. Now, you’re all set. Let the celebrations begin!

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95 thoughts on “Getting Married Soon? Give Social Security Your New Name

  1. I’m on social security and if I were to get married is my social security going to be lowered due to the husband driving truck.?

        • My new wife is on surviver benefits. How long do we have to notify social security of our marriage. We got married 8days ago.

          • Thank you for your question Tom, and congratulations in your recent marriage. Individuals must report any changes that may affect their benefits immediately, and no later than 10 days after the end of the month in which the change occurred. Failure to report a change may result in an overpayment.
            Your wife can contact the local Social Security office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 to make a report. Representatives at our toll free number are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Please read our publication “What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits” for more information.

      • If my future wife works and 53,000 per year how will affect my income because I’m still expected to my part in the house hole

        • Hi Pierre! If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, your marriage may affect your benefit. The amount of your SSI benefit is based, in part, on the income available to you and your spouse. Also, there are times when SSI benefit determinations are affected by a persons living arrangement.

          On the other hand, if you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, your marriage will not affect your benefit because these benefits are based on earnings and are not subject to income and resource limits. Thanks!

    • Thank you for your question, Marie. If you get Social Security disability benefits and you marry, your benefit will stay the same. However, if someone gets disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program, getting married may affect their benefits. The amount of SSI benefits is based, in part, on the income and resources available to the individual. This includes income and resources available from his or her spouse.

      • Another exception might be is if she is getting disability on a parent ‘s account as a disabled adult child

        • This seems to be quite the topic right now. Please tell me more about this. All of this is so confusing. Any/all information about this particular facet of things (adult child receiving $$$ based on parent’s account) is important to our family.

  2. If I marry after I begin to draw my social security will my partner be eligible for my benefits after my death?

  3. My thoughts on this are two-fold. One, when you are young and just starting out and you are still working, it is not really necessary to change your name on your social security. I am referring to the name change decision apparently only a woman has to do. Changing your name does nothing but create another name under which you will be listed and can be more liable for identity theft. I worked for 40 years and did not change my name during my 14 years of marriage. I could still apply for my spousal benefits if my ex-husband made more than my social security benefits. Now the second opinion, changing name after 60 years if you marry at that age, I still don’t see the need. As a woman, if you were married prior to 60 and either lost husband due to death or divorce, you still are entitled to spousal benefits from that marriage, but if you remarry you are giving up those benefits, entirely, upon remarriage at any age (under 60 or over 60). And changing your name is still not necessary. The point being is that your social security number is the someone you got when you first got it. Keep your name.

    • This is unfortunately very poor advice. Many times your name and SSN are checked by other government agencies. It has nothing to do with earnings but everything with preventing the use of stolen ID with an old version of a name. The IRS and state tax authorities can reject your return if your W2 form name and the name on SSA’s records are mismatched. You can be declined for a driver’s license as well or a federal student grant.

  4. I’m on social security, the man I’m going to marry has not started taking his social security yet. Will my benefits change at all? I’ve been told that my benefit will be reduced.

    • Thank you for your question, Kathy. If you get Social Security disability benefits and you marry, your benefit will stay the same. However, if someone gets disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program, getting married may affect their benefits. The amount of SSI benefits is based, in part, on the income and resources available to the individual. This includes income and resources available from his or her spouse.

        • Thank you for your question. If you receive Social Security benefits as an adult disabled since childhood, the benefits generally end if you get married. However, some marriages (for example, to another adult disabled child) are considered protected. See Adult Child Benefits for more information.

      • Please help me to get my social Security (S.S) i mean how i can and where

        i am in second time in (Texas)USA on b1b2 visa and got married with US citizen please somebody help me what is the procedure and requirement ?

  5. Hey SSA–your field offices are always crammed & the waits are too long. It’s a huge pain in the neck to change one’s name……

    • Amy, you can schedule an appointment with your local office by calling us at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and a representative will assist you. Generally, with an appointment, you will be helped before our walk-in customers. If you need to call to set up an appointment in the future, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day.

  6. If I marry someone who is disabled and receiving SS disability do I receive benefits before a certain age if I’m unemployed also pending SS disability? And, in the event my SS disability is approved does my new husband receive benefits from me & vice versa? Confused on how that works. Thank you.

    • Good question. If you marry someone who is receiving Disability Benefits, you may collect his or her benefits at age 62 or older, unless you collect a higher Social Security benefit based on your own earnings record. The spouse benefit amount will be permanently reduced by a percentage based on the number of months up to his or her full retirement age. This goes for both you and your potential spouse. We hope this information is helpful.

  7. I have a question. I am on SSI for mental illness but my PCP is stating I am pysically disabled as well. what kind of SSA would I get ? would I still get the SSI or the SSA & SSI together?

    • Thank you for your question. Yes, if you have low income and limited resources, you may be able to receive both benefits. Please keep in mind that Social Security has a strict definition of Disability. Social Security pays disability benefits to people if they have a medical condition that has prevented them from working or is expected to prevent them from working for at least 12 months. We use the same five-step process to make a decision on each application. We hope this helps.

  8. Some people are scared to get married because they could lose their SSI and Adult Child disability benefits.

    Some of these people are not disabled and just milking the system.

    The SSA need to reduce the disability roll. The SSA need to tighten down on their rule. Claimants missing a doctor appointment is a failure to follow prescribed treatment. For the CDR process, it is a Group II exception.

  9. I am recently divorced. My married name was Marilyn Willis. I am returning to my maiden name, Marilyn Ackerman.
    What do I need to do?
    Thank you.

  10. My step brother died 4.27.16. His May check came. I gave the undertaker $400 and paying the rest.myself. Could not get ins. Caregivers can’t be beneficiary. Lost 1900 in escrow. 2000 in new furniture I bought him for xmas. I am living on someones floor now. You chargeback the funeral home and say I owe you $385.This is so cruel.Not even the $255 burial check. The electric bill for.april was.360. The gas 300. Lost 1900 escrow cause I didnt give 30 day notice. Like I knew he was gonna die. 2000 for new furniture. I got him for xmxmasI am 60 and can’t. Carry it out. We just moved in Nov.27. You give money my ttaxes to people who never paid a dime into it. My brother and I worked since we were 13. Please revise your decision. Why are you so cruel? I loved my brother and never left his side in 40 years.
    Thank you

  11. I’m a stay at home wife and my husband gets ssi. If I’m not bringing any money in will his check stay the same? We just got married.

  12. soon i will be getin married to raise my kids’future their will be a pilot,marine,doctor,antorney.to success america.

  13. SSR 82-59: TITLES II AND XVI: FAILURE TO FOLLOW PRESCRIBED TREATMENT
    Continuing Disability — The issue of “failure” may arise at the time of a continuing disability investigation where (1) subsequent to a prior favorable determination based on information indicating the individual was cooperating with prescribed treatment, the individual failed to follow through on such treatment or (2) treatment has been prescribed since the last determination. Such situations will require the same documentation as that outlined above to determine if “failure” exists and if it is justifiable. Benefits will be continued for 2 months after the month in which a determination of cessation occurs.

    The married person with kid suckered the SSA with these mental illness claim. They claim that their spouse or parents take care of the kid. They go see a psychologist /psychiatrist for treatment. They got approved for this level of treatment.

    Once they are approved, they stop seeing a psychologist /psychiatrist for treatment and just see a Primary Care Physician (PCP). They trick the SSA. They wouldn’t have been approved by just seeing the PCP so the went to a psychologist /psychiatrist. Now that they are approved, they don’t need to see them anymore.

  14. Primary Care Physician don’t treat people with a severe mental illness. They refer them to a specialist (psychologist /psychiatrist).

    • For someone who is receiving Supplemental Security Income or SSI, being married or even if living together but not legally married may affect his or her benefits. This is because the SSI benefit amount we pay is affected by your living arrangements. We also take into consideration a couple’s income, and resources for SSI benefits.
      For the person receiving Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, marriage or living arrangements does not affect his or her benefit. These benefits are based on your work activity and earnings prior to becoming disabled, and are not subject to income and resource limits.

      • My husband and i are seperated both disabled but he wants to move in but still separated will that affect our disability income

        • Good question. Moving in together will not affect your Disability Benefits (SSDI). However, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are based, in part, on your living arrangements and the number of people in the household. Therefore, if either of you are receiving SSI benefits, it is important to let us know promptly when any change occurs. Visit here to find your local Social Security office. Thanks!

  15. I have married a British citizen and have kept my name as it has been on my SS form and driving license and passport. When filling out the annual form for the SS ADMINISTRATION Do I still fill in as not married as the name has not changed? Thanks

  16. Hi, i have a question i married last december to an american citizen. I am here in USA with permanent residency. When i change my name to the social segurity, should i do with immigration as well? Many thanks
    ER

    • Hello Evelyn. In your case, we suggest that you first report your name change to the Department of Homeland Security and obtain a new permanent residence card showing your new married name before requesting that Social Security changes your name on our records. When you apply to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us original documents. Documents Social Security may accept include your marriage certificate and your (new) permanent resident card. Click here for more important information.

    • Thank you for your question Julis. Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. We ask individuals to contact us about three months before their 65th birthday to sign up for Medicare. Generally, individuals receiving benefits under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program are only eligible for Medicaid, which is a state-run program that provides hospital and medical coverage for people with low income. For more information, visit http://www.medicare.gov.

  17. je suis Idrissa Seydou je suis africain je cherche du travail au usa je cherche de l’aide Jai travailler dans le système des nation unis je vie au Niger le dernier pays de la planète donc Security social des états unis aider nous sil vous plait sorry
    merci

  18. Hello:

    I visited my local SSA office today for a replacement card in my married name, however, the representative informed me my name was too long (24 characters including space) and SSA can only submit 21 characters, which includes spaces.

    I asked her if she was serious…I’ve never heard of such. My husband’s entire name is on his SS card and it is 26 characters, including spaces.

    I would appreciate any feedback on this matter. Thank you!

    • According to our rules, there is a character limit. There are 26 spaces on the first line for your first and middle names and 26 spaces on the second line for the last name and suffix, if any. Neither the first or last names shown on the SSN card should be reduced in length, unless it exceeds the 26-character limit. We sometimes, must omit middle names, middle initials, and suffixes if they prevent us from showing as many characters as possible for the first and last names. Remember that your first and last name shown on your SSN card must agree with the first and last name shown on the document submitted as evidence of identity or legal name. Please continue working with your local office for further assistance in this matter.

  19. If you are an “ADULT DISABLED CHILD”- DO NOT marry someone who is “able bodied” because the Socialist Security System will use special “rules” to cut your benefits off (or deny them). It’s their way of legally discriminating against married people and justifying their prejudice of marriage.

    I am 100 percent completely and totally disabled (i have cerebal palsy) and have never had a productive job, career or anything. I am also an adult disabled child- as defined by socialist security. I have NEVER RECEIVED ONE RED CENT FROM SOCIAL SECURITY, EVER. I married my able bodied husband when I was 21 and applied for benefits as an adult disabled child, and was denied benefits.
    I have been denied for years because of the Socialist Security systems special “Rules” that discriminate against marriage.

    So, how does being married make me any less disabled? How did getting married- somehow magically cure my disability?

    The Socialist argue that getting married provides some kind of support for the disabled person. What escapes these intellectual geniuses, is that now you have two people trying to make a living off one income (because no one will hire a physically disabled person). Anyone can clearly see the Socialist Security rule, actually makes things A LOT harder for people in this situation? You have all the expense of someone who is completely and totally disabled, not able to find any gainful employment, and they are supossed to make it off one income from the able bodied person? – REALLY? who thinks this kind of stuff up?

    They say above ” After the honeymoon, you can focus on your career or starting a family, moving to a new home, and securing a well-deserved retirement. Now, you’re all set. Let the celebrations begin”! WHAT?

    After my honeymoon, all I got was a LIFETIME of financial struggle NIGHTMARE, consistant worry, a HUGE feeling that I was discriminated against (because I got married to an able bodied person), endless dead end jobs, 25 years of trying to figure out how to make it off only ONE income, all thanks to the SOCIALIST SECURITY ADMINISTRATION.

    Thanks for nothing!

  20. I’ve recently married. I’m not changing my name. My county clerk shared that I still had to visit the SSA local office to record my marriage. Why do I as the woman have to do this since my husband married me and there is no name change for either of us? Or do I have to go at all since I’m not changing my name.

    I’ve worked 20 years as a professional and changing my name just is not worth the trouble.

    • Thanks for your question and congratulations on your marriage Suz. Changing your name is a personal decision. When you marry, you are free to keep your own name or take your spouse’s name. There is no time limit or requirement for a name change after marriage. However, if you do decide to change your name on your Social Security card, you must complete an application for a new Social Security card and show us a document that proves your legal name change. For complete instructions, please go to Social Security Number and Card. Thanks!

      • Thanks for advising on the name change part. Do I still have to visit the local SSA office to advise of my marriage? Is that required so that both my new husband and I are connected in the record system?

        I didn’t visit the office when I divorced my ex-husband.

  21. Hello I’m so confused please Help……
    I was recently married, my new husband was born in Mexico & I need to know before I go file an application to change my name to my newly married name if he has 2 last names or surnames (that are not hyphenated) on his legal birth certificate, when I fill it out which of his 2 last names do I take as my new last name or do I have take them both?? I know that typically in the U.S. you only have 1 last name but I’m unsure as to what the regulations are when it comes to a woman marrying a foreign national from a country where it’s typical for them to have 2 last names. I have a friend whose husband (also foreign) has 2 last names but his are hyphenated & she told me that since there was a hyphen between the names on his legal birth certificate she had to use both names, but my husbands are not hyphenated so it confused me & I want to be completely sure that the new last name that I’ll be using (hopefully for the rest of my life) is by law legally correct!!
    Thanks in advance for any helpful information.

    • Hi Sandy, when you legally change your name because of marriage, you must show us a document that proves your legal name change, such as the original copy of your marriage certificate. In your situation, it may be best to visit the nearest Social Security office or card center and one of our representatives will guide you through the application procedure. Please visit our “New or Replacement Social Security Number and Card” web page, to learn more on the process and what documents you will need to get a new card. Thanks!

      • Yes I understand that I must provide an original document of my marriage certificate which I do have that to take with me to the Social Security Administration once I can get there with it being 45 minutes away, but I was wanting to fill out my application ahead of time so that I would have that out of the way & send it in by mail if I had to but I don’t know what to put for as my last name. On our marriage certificate both his last names are listed under his last names where his full legal name is 4 names instead of 3 like we have so I was unsure if I needed to put both his last names as my newly married last name of just his last last name of the 2. Sorry about the confusion but thank you for your time.

  22. Is there a way to check on the progress of a name change being processed? Because of the incredibly long wait times (even with an appointment) and the fact that the office in my area is open 9-4 when I work 8-5, I was forced to mail in my application. I am wondering if my paperwork has been processed yet.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you for your question Krista. Typically, after we receive your application and verify your documents, we then process your request for a replacement Social Security card. After we process your request, you should receive your replacement Social Security card by mail within 10 business days. You can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for a follow up. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

  23. I am getting married and my fiancé collects SSI. By changing my last name or getting married in general ,will it effect his ssi and by how much? Also , he has sickle cell anemia, is he eligible for SSD too ?

    • Hi Tiffany. To qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) program, individuals must have enough credits and be “currently insured”. This means, individuals must have worked long enough–and recently enough—under Social Security. If someone is receiving disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program, getting married may affect their benefits. This is because the amount of SSI benefit is based, in part, on the income and resources available to the individual receiving SSI benefits and the income and resources of his or her spouse. It is still possible that married individuals can continue to receive their SSI benefits after we conduct a “Redetermination”. For further assistance, please contact your local office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

  24. I was recently told by a friend that 6 years ago, she had to change her name to her husband’s name in order to qualify for his ssa benefits after his death. My name is different than my husband’s, so I am concerned. This seems like an archaic rule and I wonder if it is still in effect today? Thank you!

      • Thank you for your prompt response, Mr. Fernandez. I visited the site you suggested and found useful information regarding ages and their corresponding survivor’s benefits, but my question is still not answered. Would I be denied otherwise qualified benefits if my last name is different from my husband’s? Thank you!

        • No Jeanne, as long as you meet all the eligibility requirements, you will not be denied benefits if your last name is different from your husband’s. Sometimes, our system will require us to make corrections when processing a claim. This may have been the case with your friend. Thanks.

  25. I recently got married. I went to social security to change my last name. My husband has two last names, first his father’s, last his mother’s. He goes by his father’s, so I had put in the paperwork that I would take his father’s as my last also. I was told that I can not do this. I was told that I had to take his mother’s last name because it came last. I have never heard of this before. I know many couples who have successfully done this name change before. As a Hispanic woman this is very disturbing to me. He said the law was changed by homeland security two weeks ago and that they control how names are on the cards. Is this possibly true?

    • Thank you for your question Maritza. For Social Security enumeration purposes, your first and last name shown on your SSN card must agree with the first and last name shown on the document submitted as evidence of identity or legal name. A foreign-born person’s legal name is the name shown on his or her immigration document (includes hyphens and apostrophes). When issuing immigration documents, the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security generally issue them in the person’s legal name. In addition, there is a 26-character limit for your first, middle name(s) and the last name and suffix, if any. Please continue working with your local office for further assistance in this matter. Thanks.

      • Right I understand that, but if he has two last names, which is shown on our marriage certificate and all other documents as his last names, his father’s is the first of the two. Can I take the first of the two? That is the tradition and would be under the 26 character limit.

  26. Im 53 and getting married, I can still collect my social security later in life fully right? I do not get any SSI or other, I work full time and have since the age of 15.

  27. Say I’m a woman named Sharon Ann Smith
    I am going to marry a man named Carl Ray Jones
    We get married and both go to Social Security Administration

    Are all of the following name change options allowed at SSA?

    1. Sharon Ann Smith-Jones and Carl Ray Smith-Jones
    2. Sharon Ann Smith Jones and Carl Ray Smith Jones (i.e., both added “Smith” as a second middle name)
    3. Sharon Smith Jones and Carl Smith Jones (i.e., both replaced original middle name with “Smith”)
    4. Sharon Ann Smith (no change) and Carl Ray Smith

    In other words, do the rules differ for men vs. women in opposite-sex marriages?

    • Thanks for your question Sharon! You can show whichever name you would like on your Social Security card as long as you have evidence of your legal name change. In order to change your name on your card, you must show us a document that proves your legal name change. You could also use two documents: a document showing your old name (as shown in our records), and a document showing your new name. Any documents you submit, must be an original or certified copy, current (not expired) and show your name, and other identifying information (date of birth or age). To learn more on the process and what documents you will need to get a card Please visit our “New or Replacement Social Security Number and Card” web page. We hope this helps!

  28. Hello my name is Jacqueline Ramirez and I married with Jose Peralta . In my marriage certificate I decide to keep my last name Ramirez.I received my EAD card with my name Jacqueline Ramirez . Now I have decided to use the last name of my spouse “peralta” when I process my social security card for first time .My question is do I need to change it in my marriage certificate the option that I did? Or just like it is ? I want to make sure before I go to the social security office . Thank you so much for your valuable time and God bless you

  29. Hello, my name is Kenny and I have two questions.

    1) If an American is married with someone from another country, and they don’t live together. Can the NRA spouse his income be deemed for any SS benefits? Such as SSI, SSDI (on own work record), snap or Medicare? And if income cannot be deemed. Should the marriage be reported, as it wouldn’t affect any of the benefits?

    2) Can you change your name at SSDI, SNAP, DMV and other organizations at the same time as SSA. Or do you need to wait until you have a new social security card first, before you can change your name anywhere else?

  30. I have a question is there any way of adding your spouse last name to your social security card without taking out your last name? I would like to keep my maiden name as well, wondering if that is possible and if so how would I do that.

    • Thanks for your question, Michelle. To change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us proof of your legal name change. You can show whichever name you would like on your social security card, as long as you have evidence of your legal name change. In your case, a marriage license may be acceptable. Any documents you submit, must be an original or certified copy, current (not expired) and show your name, and other identifying information (date of birth or age). If the name change event occurred over two years ago or if the name change document does not have enough information to prove your identity, you must also provide documents to prove your identity in your prior name and/or in some cases your new legal name. For more information on this topic, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. You may also use our local office search to find the Social Security office or Social Security Card Center that serves your location and its hours of operation. We hope this helps.

  31. I recently got married and would like to change my last name to my spouse’s last name. Is it possible when filing for the change to OMIT my current middle name so that my legal name will then only be my first name and (married) last name? Thanks.

    • Congratulations on becoming a newlywed! You can show whichever name you would like on your social security card, as long as you have evidence of your legal name change by showing us documentation of your old and new names. If you wish to omit your middle name, you may do so. To learn more on the process and what documents you will need to get a card, please visit our “New or Replacement Social Security Number and Card” web page. We hope this helps! Thanks!

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