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. Justin B.

    My wife and I got married last year. She kept her maiden name. Do I still have to notify the ssa?

    • Suz

      I have the same question.

      • Angela M.

        I recently married, but didn’t change my last name (and won’t). Do I still need to notify the Social Security Dept?

        • Ray F.

          Thanks for your question Angela, you will only need to contact us if you decide to change your name legally. Congratulations on your marriage !

  2. Sandy G.

    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.

    • Ray F.

      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!

      • Sandy G.

        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.

  3. Suz

    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.

    • Ray F.

      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!

      • Suz

        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.

        • Ray F.

          Hi Suz! If you get Social Security benefits and you marry (or re-marry), your benefits may be affected. See our Frequently Asked Questions web page for more information.

  4. todd s.

    we are i love if we get married will we both louse are ssd

  5. tammy

    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!

  6. MMSG

    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!

    • Ray F.

      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.

  7. Idi

    je sui marie père d’un enfant

  8. Idi

    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

    • Ray F.

      For Social Security information in other languages, please visit us at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/multilanguage.

      • Mikki

        If you haven’t changed your maiden name to your married name, will that become a problem when trying to get spousal social security or survival benefits?

  9. Julis

    What age does a person who is receiving SSI apply for Medicare

    • Ray F.

      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.

  10. Evelyn

    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

    • Ray F.

      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.

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