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Getting Married Soon? Give Social Security Your New Name

June 2, 2016 • By

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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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

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  1. tina

    your website ins great https://divinitydjs.com/

    Reply
  2. charles addison

    if I get married will it affect my sis?

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Charles. Thanks for your question. If you receive retirement or Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, your marriage will not affect your benefit. If you are receiving SSI, widow or widower’s benefits, your marriage may affect your benefit. To learn more about how marriage affects benefits, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  3. Maribel Colon

    I’m getting married soon, if I hyphenate my last name with his do I have to update all my documents? Ex: Drivers license, passport, my personal bank account, etc.

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Maribel. Keep in mind if you are planning to change your name on your Social Security card, 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. 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. To determine which documents you may need, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. As far as updating the other documents, you should contact the other organizations directly. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  4. Elizabeth Renner

    I got married two weeks ago do I obtain a new social security number

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Congratulations on your marriage, Elizabeth. Your Social Security number will remain the same. Keep in mind, 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. If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records, you must show us an identity document in your old name (as shown in our records).

      We offer the option to mail your completed application with original or certified documents to your local Social Security office. Use this link find out the steps you need to take to change your name on your Social Security card. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  5. Jenny McCracken

    I have a friend who came into the US as a K1 fiancé. She did not apply for her Social Security Card before she got married. She is now married and has a new name from what is on her k1 visa. Since she did not get her SSN before she got married, can she still use her K1 visa to get a Social Security card even though she is not longer a fiancé?

    Reply
    • Luis A., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Jenny. In this forum, we cannot determine whether or not your friend can still apply for a Social Security number card. Please have your friend call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Your friend may also contact the local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. Holly Reese

    I need to replace my SS card with my married name. I was married in 1991 and I have never made the change. I was told that the marriage license cannot be older than a maximum number of years in order to make this change. How long is the new marriage license valid for making this change?

    Reply
    • Luis A., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Holly. To change your name on your Social Security card, please visit our “Social Security Number and Card” web page to learn more on the process, and what documents you will need to get a card. To find the nearest Social Security Office or Card Center in your area, click here. We hope this helps.

      Reply
      • Liz

        I reviewed these sites as well and cannot find any information regarding a time limit on certified documentation. Is there a time limit on using a certified marriage certificate to change my name? Last year, after waiting several hours in line, my local office told me there was a 2 year limit and turned me away.

        Reply
  7. Jean Hedick

    We are a recently married gay couple. There were no name changes. Who is responsible for reporting this marriage to SSA.

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Jean. Congratulations on your recent marriage. If either of you are receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security benefits, you may notify us of your marriage by phone, mail or in person. Have your claim number handy and you also should be prepared to give the date of the change. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  8. Annette Holloway

    Can I go to a social security office that is NOT in my home state to get a name change social security card because of marriage, or do I have to go to my home state social security office? I live in Missouri but I’m closer to the office in Harrison Arkansas.

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Annette. When necessary, we encourage you to visit your servicing field office, however you can visit any Social Security office that is convenient for you. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  9. Christine LeBlanc

    Can two people who collect social security disability benefits get married? Will someone lose their check if one half of the couple gets more money than the other? A rapid response to my question would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Christine. If you receive retirement or Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, your marriage will not affect your benefit. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), widow or widower’s benefits, your marriage may affect your benefit. To learn more about how marriage affects benefits, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  10. Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah

    This is the right site for everyone who would like to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic which has been discussed for ages. Wonderful stuff, just great!

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    Reply

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