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. Namak i.

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  2. Donna C.

    I’m getting married and my name will change. Will I need to show my marriage certificate?

  3. John a.

    After applying for marriage entitlement and waiting a year What happens? Do we contact SSA again? Do we wait to hear about the change in payment? What about Medicare? Do we still have to pay premiums for spouse part A and part B if spouse was previously l low income (SSI) and we have been paying the Medicare monthly premiums while waiting the year.

    • Vonda

      Hi there. For your security, John, 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 call 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.

  4. Shaadi M.

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  5. L. M.

    I was reviewing the website and the FAQ’s section but I have one question. It says all of the documents have to be originals, does this mean I need to mail in my physical drivers license in with the application?

    • Vonda

      Hi L. Mallet, thanks for using our blog. If your name change is due to marriage, we may be able to use just your marriage certificate. You can contact your local Social Security office to inquire. 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.

  6. Patricia A.

    I need to change my last name back to my maiden. Can I do this online?

    • Vonda

      Hi Patricia, 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.

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