General, Online Services, Social Security Number and Card, SSI

Getting Married Soon? Give Social Security Your New Name

June 2, 2016 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

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

Comments

  1. Jesse R.

    My name is Jesse Ray Gentner I’m trying to become legally married to my fiance Teresa Jane Ohop as well as looking into benefits from social security for citizens that were incarcerated 10 years or more with assistance in current living and potential business loan opportunities

  2. Christopher

    with the US State Dept not issuing passports currently, and having international travel scheduled in December (hopefully), my fiancé (wife on June 14th) should change her name. But my understanding is a name change via SSA invalidates the passport and we may not be able to update the passport prior to December. Is there any penalties or anything additional we would need to do if we waited until January to change her name with SSA?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Christopher, thanks for using our blog. If your wife decides to adopt your last name or hyphenate her name, she should apply for a corrected Social Security card with the new name. There is no time requirement; however, the Social Security taxes her employer deducts from her wages may not be properly credited to her if the information isn’t correct. We hope this helps.

  3. johnny

    It was good news, thank you very much, but I don’t have the conditions for marriage at the moment 🙁
    فاز موزیک

  4. johnny

    It was good news, thank you very much, but I don’t have the conditions for marriage at the moment 🙁
    فاز موزیک

  5. Kathleen E.

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

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Kathleen, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document. Check out our Learn What Documents You Need to get A Social Security Card web page for additional details. We hope this helps.

  6. Anita

    very interesting content to read, really helpful, thank you
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  7. Jennifer S.

    Need to changed my last name

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Jennifer, thank you for using our blog. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page on how to change your name. If you do not want to mail in your documents, which will be returned, you may need to wait for the offices to reopen. Use our Social Security Office Locator to find your local office address. We hope this helps.

  8. Wanada B.

    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?

    • Vonda V.

      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.

  9. Cara

    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.

    • Vonda V.

      Hello Cara, if you get Social Security disability or retirement benefits and you marry, your benefit will stay the same. See “If I get married, will it affect my benefits” for more information. Thanks!

  10. atena

    And listen to remix radio javan, thank you my love

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