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

  1. Will my income change the amount of DISABILITY benefits my significant other gets if we become married? I can not find the guidelines on ssa.gov, only guidelines for SSI.

  2. 40 years ago, my husband and I received a court order declaring our common compound surname to be “Baxter-Potter”. We notified the SSA of our name change and received new cards that accurately reflected our common legal name, including the hyphen. All of our children’s birth certificates and social security cards use the hyphenated compound surname. However, all correspondence from SSA omits the hyphen, and the Ohio State Department of Revenue has “corrected” my son’s tax account to omit the hyphen because the hyphen did not appear in a SSA verification. The omission of the hyphen in so much of the SSA system, particularly the verification system, creates unnecessary confusion and serious complications. For example, my son’s application for unemployment compensation was denied/delayed because the state claimed that his name did not match the name the SSN verification.
    Finally, I may have to request a replacement SS card. Will the present day SSA respect my legal name and accurately reflect the hyphenated compounding, just as the SSA did 40 years ago?

    • Hi Wanada, thanks for using our blog. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  3. I got married almost a month ago. I have my form filled out. Am I able to send a copy of my drivers license?

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