Online Services, Social Security Number and Card

Need to Change Your Name on Your Social Security Card?

October 9, 2018 • By

Last Updated: July 16, 2021

social security card Are you changing your name? If so, let Social Security know so we can update your information, send you a corrected card, and make sure you get the benefits you’ve earned.

To change your name on your card, you must show us documents proving your legal name change and identity. If you are a U.S. citizen, you also must show us a document proving your U.S. citizenship, if it is not already in our records. You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We can’t accept photocopies or notarized copies.

To prove your legal name change, you must show one of the following documents:

  • Marriage document.
  • Divorce decree.
  • Certificate of naturalization showing a new name.
  • Court order for a name change.

To prove your identity, you must show an unexpired document showing your name, identifying information, and photograph, such as one of the following:

  • U.S. driver’s license.
  • State-issued non-driver’s identification card.
  • U.S. passport.

If you don’t have one of those documents available, we may be able to accept your:

  • Employer identification card.
  • School identification card.
  • Health insurance card.
  • U.S. military identification card.

To prove your U.S. citizenship, you must show one of the following documents:

  • U.S. birth certificate.
  • U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
  • U.S. passport (unexpired).
  • Certificate of Naturalization.
  • Certificate of Citizenship.

Whatever your reason for your name change, Social Security is here to help you with the new… you! Fill out the form online and follow the instructions to ensure your Social Security card is delivered in a timely manner. You can also locate your local field office so you can apply for your updated card and show your required documents in person.

For complete instructions, visit our Social Security Number and Card page, which includes information for non-citizens. And remember, if you simply need to replace a lost Social Security card, but don’t need to change your name, you can — in most states — request your replacement card online using your personal my Social Security account.


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Comments

  1. Theresa

    What can we do when our valid identification expires and cannot get replaced in time due to covid shutdowns? Can we use expired documentation?

  2. Ann M.

    I have always gone by my first and middle name (Ann Marie) and I’ve always hated having to explain this every time I start a new job or when I was in school etc. I recently married and will be going through the name change process. I’m wondering if legally I can change my name to be
    First Name: AnnMarie (1 word, no hyphen, both Ann and Marie being capitalized)
    Middle Name: Maiden Name
    Last Name: Married Last Name

    • Mia C.

      As long as you wrote it that way on the marriage license, yes you can.

    • Vonda

      Hi Ann Marie, thank you for using our blog. If you legally change your name, check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page on how to change your name with Social Security. All submitted documents must be either originals or certified copies by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

      For additional information on how Social Security can help with your Social Security number, please visit our Social Security and Coronavirus web page.

  3. jennifer

    Hello, my daughter was recently adopted by my husband and I am trying to figure out how to get her a new social security card. I filled out the application but unsure as to what documents will be accepted? I have her original birth cerificate and social security card. I know i have to mail in my drivers license. Have not been able to obtain her new birth certificate with her new name yet. She is only 15 so she does not have a ID. Would sending my license, her old Birth Certificate, and adoption decree work?

    • Vonda

      Hi Jennifer, thanks for using our blog. If you legally change your child’s name because of adoption, court order or any other reason, you need to get a corrected Social Security card. Visit our Learn What Documents You Need for details on the documentation requirements. Under the heading, “Type of Card,” select “Corrected” for a list of the documents needed. For complete instructions, go to the Social Security Number and Card web page.

      If you have more specific questions, 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. Jill B.

    Hello, On form SS-5 , line #17. Do I sign my old last name or my new married last name?

    • Vonda

      Hi Jill, thanks for using our blog. The signature in item 17 of the Social Security card application should agree with the name that you want to be shown on your Social Security card. We hope this helps!

  5. Gillian W.

    I’m needing to change my name since I just got married. I have a certified abstract of my marriage license. I understand I also need to provide my birth certificate and ID, but how are we supposed to mail them in when you need your ID possibly every day? I am in the process of getting a new job and could potentially need it at any moment. Also how can we know how long it will take for them to return our documents? I planned on sending my application via certified mail so I know it will get there.

    • Rochelle

      my husband needed a replacement ss card and was told to “mail his original drivers license and we will send it RIGHT BACK”. That was on 1/21/21. Today is 2/16/21 and he still hasn’t received his original drivers license back. Be careful. SS is not reliable, just like everything else in “government”

      • Vonda

        We are sorry to hear about your experience, Rochelle. Please call your local Social Security office. 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.

    • Vonda

      Hi Gillian, thank you for using our blog. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page on how to change your name. All submitted documents must be either originals or certified copies by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

      For additional information on how Social Security can help with your Social Security number, please visit our Social Security and Coronavirus web page.

      You can call your local Social Security office with more specific questions. 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.

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  7. Kristin S.

    Hi.. I am sure this has been asked already but, I was married for the 2nd time 21 months ago outside of Missouri in Arkansas. My legal last name is still that of my ex husbands and has been since 2002. My current husband is not a fan of this, as he has all rights to not be. Problem is, I don’t have my original birth certificate due to a house fire over 2 years ago and to add more twists to it, I was born in Oklahoma and not Missouri. Can I provide the marriage license, my picture id, proof of residency, and my social security card with my current last name to finally get it changed?? Or do I need to wait for 6 weeks after I order a birth certificate???

    • Sue

      Hi, Kristin, and thanks for using our blog. In order to change your name on your Social Security card, you must 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). However, we still will need to see proof (legal document) of the name change.

      For more information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. Please mail your completed application with original or certified documents to your local office. You’ll find the mailing address using our Social Security Office Locator. We hope this helps.

  8. Maria

    I have a question can I mail form and documents to ss card center ? if not where can i mail it

    • Sue

      Hi, Maria. Thanks for using our blog and for your questions. Please use our Social Security Office Locator. After you type in your zip code, if your area is served by a Social Security card center, click the “I Need Card Services” to get the mailing address. Otherwise you can mail your documents to your local Social Security office. Remember, we need to see original documents or copies certified by the record holder, which we will return to you. For more details, visit our Social Security Number and Card webpage. We hope this is helpful.

  9. Jessica C.

    I am needing to change my last name due to recent marriage. When I send in the needing documents- do you need all the originals? Or can a copy of any of them suffice? I plan to send birth certificate, marriage certificate and driver’s license. Are all 3 of those enough?

    • Jessica C.

      Oh! And how do I get my documents back in time if I am needing my Driver’s License to drive? Or can I also send my passport?

    • Vonda

      Hi Jessica, thank you for using our blog. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page on how to change your name. All submitted documents must be either originals or certified copies by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

      For additional information on how Social Security can help with your Social Security number, please visit our Social Security and Coronavirus web page.

  10. Rey

    I have a question that may or may not been asked before. I understand the severity of COVID-19 and the reasoning for closing Social Security offices to protect older Americans. My question is, not everyone is infected with COVID and most everything in life is honestly, “Do at your own risk”, so why not implement a screening process to enter Social Security offices? Place plexiglass partitions to keep your employees safe and open back up? Older Americans can access their health concerns and choose not to visit your offices. To complete most transactions with your office, we’re required to send original documents, ie. Driver’s License, marriage/divorce certificates, etc. I believe the social security offices are funded by our tax dollars? I am myself a government employee and have not missed work once due to covid. I believe American’s should be able to access this service and for most of us, you are an essential function in our lives.

    • Vonda

      Hi Rey, thanks for using our blog. You can submit feedback by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form, where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. We hope this helps.

    • Vonda

      Hi Rey, thanks for using our blog. You can submit feedback by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form, where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. We hope this helps.

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