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

Getting Married Soon? Give Social Security Your New Name

June 2, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

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, 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

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


  1. CT

    Hi, one of my friend just got married and wanted to update his profile and change it from widower to married. my question is – does social security allow to chagne of marriage status and info ? could you please tell me how to change and what he needs to prepare for social security ? thanks

    • Ray F.

      Individuals receiving Social Security benefits have a legal obligation to report changes such as marriage, change of address, etc. Your friend can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our agents. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Or he can contact the local Social Security office directly.

  2. Carolyn G.

    Hello there ? i have a friend who is married, but has not changed there social security numbers on their cards, but’s what’s strange “is they both have been working and filing their income tax returns separately,; now they’re wondering if they are really married social security hasn’t said nothing or the IRS….input please

    • Ray F.

      Thanks for your question Carolyn. 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. Changing your name is a personal decision. However, if you do decide to change your name on your Social Security record, you must complete an application for a new Social Security card and show us a document that proves your legal name change. See “What documents you need to get a replacement Social Security card” for more information. For tax related questions, please contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040. We hope this helps.

  3. Sueli A.

    Hi, I live with my fiancé for 3 years. We will get married in October 2017. I am 68 Years old, widow, and my fiancé is 60 years old. I would like to know, if one of us die may in less than 2 years, we will have spouse Social Security benefits? I am asking this because If happens something with me my spouse will have the surviver social security from me. I am sorry for this question. I just want to protect my wife. Thank you

    • Ray F.

      Hi Sueli. If you get Social Security retirement benefits and you marry, your benefit will stay the same. Click here to see how marriage may affect other benefits. Generally, you must be married for one year before you can get spouse’s benefits. You and your new wife will have to contact us then, to see if you or your wife qualify for a higher benefit amount. For survivor’s benefits, spouses must have been married for at least 9 months. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our agents for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. You will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

  4. Yvonne F.

    I applied for a new Social Security carrd at my local SS office as a result of marriage, but how do I get a new Medicare card?

  5. RichardAlep

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  6. Shy

    I recently got married and would like to change my last name to my spouse’s last name. Is it possible when filing for the change to OMIT my current middle name so that my legal name will then only be my first name and (married) last name? Thanks.

    • Jenna Y.

      Congratulations on becoming a newlywed! 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. If you wish to omit your middle name, you may do so. To learn more on the process and what documents you will need to get a card, please visit our “New or Replacement Social Security Number and Card” web page. We hope this helps! Thanks!

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  8. Michelle P.

    I have a question is there any way of adding your spouse last name to your social security card without taking out your last name? I would like to keep my maiden name as well, wondering if that is possible and if so how would I do that.

    • Ann C.

      Thanks for your question, Michelle. To change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us proof of your legal name change. You can show whichever name you would like on your social security card, as long as you have evidence of your legal name change. In your case, a marriage license may be acceptable. Any documents you submit, must be an original or certified copy, current (not expired) and show your name, and other identifying information (date of birth or age). If the name change event occurred over two years ago or if the name change document does not have enough information to prove your identity, you must also provide documents to prove your identity in your prior name and/or in some cases your new legal name. For more information on this topic, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. You may also use our local office search to find the Social Security office or Social Security Card Center that serves your location and its hours of operation. We hope this helps.

  9. Kenny

    Hello, my name is Kenny and I have two questions.

    1) If an American is married with someone from another country, and they don’t live together. Can the NRA spouse his income be deemed for any SS benefits? Such as SSI, SSDI (on own work record), snap or Medicare? And if income cannot be deemed. Should the marriage be reported, as it wouldn’t affect any of the benefits?

    2) Can you change your name at SSDI, SNAP, DMV and other organizations at the same time as SSA. Or do you need to wait until you have a new social security card first, before you can change your name anywhere else?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Kenny. Thanks for your questions. First, If you get Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits and you marry, your benefit will likely stay the same. However, if someone gets disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program, getting married may affect their benefits. Keep in mind that if you receive benefits from Social Security, you have a legal obligation to report changes, as soon as possible. To get a list of reporting responsibilities under disability, please read our publication What You Need to Know When You get Social Security Disability Benefits, and for SSI, read What You Need to Know When You Get Supplemental Security Income. Secondly, when you change your name with Social Security, you are only changing your name on our records. You would need to contact your local social services, welfare office and/or Department of Transportation from the state in which you live, to follow their requirements for name changes and other reporting responsibilities. We hope this helps.

  10. Jenna H.

    Ever since I got divorced about three months ago I hate that people are still calling me by my ex-husband’s last name! It was handy to know that if you are legally changing your name, you need to apply for a replacement Social Security card reflecting your new name. I will take that bit of information into consideration when talking with an expert soon!

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