COVID-19, Social Security Number and Card

Replacement or Corrected Social Security Cards during the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 23, 2021 • By

Last Updated: April 5, 2021

A hand holding a Social Security CardSocial Security offices are currently open only for in-person appointments for limited, critical situations, depending upon local office conditions. However, you can continue to apply for a replacement Social Security card online and by mail.

Before requesting a replacement card, please remember that you might not need the physical card. Most of the time, simply knowing your Social Security number is enough.

If you have a critical situation that requires you to have a physical card and you cannot apply by mail or online, you should call your local Social Security office. Please visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates page for more information.

Applying Online

If you don’t need any changes to your Social Security Number record (such as a name or date of birth change), applying for a replacement card online is your most convenient option. You don’t need to mail proof or visit an office.

You can use our online application if you are an adult, have a State-issued drivers’ license or non-driver identification card, and live in the District of Columbia or one of the 45 States that verifies State-issued documents for us. All you need to do is create a my Social Security account to access and complete the online application.

If you live in one of the five States that do not participate—Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and West Virginia—know that we are working hard to bring this service to you as soon as possible.

Applying by Mail

We require proof of your identity with your replacement card application, usually a State-issued drivers’ license or non-driver identification card, or U.S. passport. We call these documents “primary” identity proofs. We understand mailing primary identity proofs with your replacement card application can be challenging. To help, we are temporarily expanding our policy to accept alternative identity documents—or what we call “secondary proofs”—when you cannot mail primary proof.

Acceptable secondary proofs include, but are not limited to:

  • Employee identification card.
  • School identification card.
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card).
  • U.S. military identification card.

These proofs must be current (not expired), show your name and identifying information (such as your date of birth or age), and be an original or a certified copy.

If you need to change your name, when you mail your replacement card application, you will need to submit proof of identity plus proof of the name change. The proof of identity can be primary or secondary proof. Proof of the name change could be a marriage certificate, divorce decree, Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name, or a court order approving the name change.

You may be able to submit one document to serve as proof of your name change and identity. For example, you may submit a marriage certificate as proof of name change and identity if the certificate shows the marriage occurred within the prior two years and:

  • Includes your prior name.
  • Includes your age, birth date or parents’ names.
  • This information matches your Social Security Number record.

We will return any documents you send us.


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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Comments

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  1. Joe K

    Hello,

    I was recently married and my wife needs an update social security card with her new name.

    I understand the in-person concerns surrounding Covid, but mailing off the original identification documentation that we use to validate our identities (birth cert, marriage license, drivers license) is not a reasonable option. These documents are far too valuable to be entrusted to anyone other than the document owners and the personnel at the SS office. Responsible people don’t put these documents in the mail.

    What safe options can we use to obtain new social security cards?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Maureen L.

      I completely agree with this. Not only is it not safe with all the mail and identity theft happening, but how are you supposed to legally drive around with no license? I’m currently waiting or my marriage certificate to begin the process but I definitely don’t see mailing these items in as an option.

      Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Joe, thank you for your question. 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.

      Our Social Security and Coronavirus web page, under “Getting Help from Social Security heading”, provides details on the documents your wife needs to mail in with her Social Security card application to get a replacement card with her new name. We temporarily expanded our policy to accept secondary identity documents. We hope this helps!

      Reply
      • E.O

        I applied for my daughter’s social security number by mailing a request form using a certified post office mail. Accompanying my application was her birth certificate, her passport and my passport. They returned only her birth certificate claiming not to receive our passports. The mail was a first class mail delivered by hand and received in good condition. I’m a foreigner and can’t go back to my home country as a result. I need help.

        Reply
  2. Elizabeth S.

    Is there a way to track the status of your updated social security card? I applied to have my name changed, and received all my original documents back, but have yet to receive my new social security card.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Elizabeth, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. For status on your name change, 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.

      Reply
  3. sal d

    i need to get a new ss card and i don’t have a id. can i use a birth certificate? getting medical records is going to take awhile.i do have a medical card but its medicare and masshealth on one tufs card is that ok?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Sal, thank you for using our blog. Your birth certificate cannot be used as proof of identity. However, we are temporarily allowing people to mail in an original or certified secondary identity document with their paper Social Security Number application (SS-5) if they cannot request a replacement SSN card online, or if they are unwilling or unable to mail the primary identity document. Check out our Social Security and Coronavirus web page, under the Social Security Numbers and Cards heading, for a listing of secondary documentation that you can provide to get a replacement card. We hope this helps!

      Reply
      • sal d

        ty for reply, will the medical records be enough to send in with the request form or should i send a birth certificate as well?

        Reply
  4. Kate

    I applied for a name change for my SS and they asked for my DL to be sent in the mail. How am I gonna drive around without it. It just doesn’t seem logical.

    Reply
    • Steve

      Mail it to your local office. They process it and expedite it back to you. I mailed it and it was back in less than a week.

      Be aware that they MIGHT send it requiring your signature when the mail person delivers it. Luckily, my neighbor was home in the next apartment to sign for it when he heard them knocking.

      Reply
      • Kate

        Hi thanks for responding. I just had a baby and I was recovering when my husband did it and that was over a month ago. Haven’t gotten anything back. I’m super worried.

        Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Kate, thank you for your question. 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.

      Our Social Security and Coronavirus web page, under “Getting Help from Social Security heading”, provides details on the documents you need to mail in with your Social Security card application to get a replacement card with your new name. We temporarily expanded our policy to accept secondary identity documents. We hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Kate

        This does help thank you. Should I call in then? It’s been over a month since my husband mailed my DL in, I can’t drive without it.

        Reply
  5. Diana

    Hi! With schools, government offices, and courts open, why won’t SSA offices open? It seems unfair a government agency is denying service to its constituents. Sending important documents via USPS is not secure. When will offices open again?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Diana, thanks for using our blog. Social Security offices are currently open only for in-person appointments for limited, critical situations. We are unable to accept walk-in visitors. If you feel you have a critical situation, please check out our Social Security and Coronavirus web page for more information.

      Reply
  6. Raghavendra Joshi

    Hello,
    My wife applied for a replacement SSN card for non citizens in March 2021. We had earlier called the local office and checked all the documents and then shipped them with the application. We called the local office at 4 weeks, 8 weeks and each time we were told to wait for 4 weeks more. Its been 12 weeks now and still we do not have the original documents or the card. Its very frustrating to not know what’s happening. We tried to contact the office recently and nobody even picks the phone. Further more, we would need to have our passport at some time, in case we need to travel due to any emergency. This is Minneapolis, MN office. How can I know the status of my spouse’s card?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Raghavendra. We apologize for the difficult time you are experiencing working with Social Security. We have referred your complaint to our Office of Operations to follow up and to take corrective action as necessary.

      Reply
      • ZaCiyah

        We are experiencing the same issue As Raghavendra. What can be done? When I’ve called the Security Office in Minneapolis they’ve continued to extend the amount of time it will take to process my replacement card. The last time I telephoned the representative became frustrated and hung up the phone without providing the requested information. How can I file a complaint?

        Reply
        • Vonda

          We are sorry to hear about your experience, ZaCiyah. 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.

          Reply
  7. Victor

    Can I fax my paperwork for name change rather than mailing?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Victor, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. You can call your local Social Security office to see if there are other options for submitting documentation. 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.

      Reply
      • Victor

        I’ve been trying to call the Bronx location for weeks now and they seem to never answer the phone. Is there another way of sending my documents that is safe? Can I drop it off at another location that is not where I reside?

        Reply
  8. DeShawn

    I have Applied for my kids replacement cards back in January and i havent Received the cards or my documents i been on the phone with every employee even the manger nobody is helping me i am becoming very frustrated i have been patient enough and I’m worry my documents will get in the wrong hands .. the office told me the documents weren’t there then tells me only two of my kids cards been processed so where is my documents??

    Reply
    • Vonda

      We are very sorry to hear about your experience, DeShawn. Please continue to work with your local 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.

      Reply
  9. Kayla Hopkins

    I applied for a new ss card 4 months ago and still haven’t received it but all documents I sent were all sent back but still no card

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Kayla, thanks for using our blog. If you want to check on the status of your Social Security card application, 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.

      Reply
  10. Caroline

    Hi! I have applied for and received my new social security card, but I have not received ANY of the original documents I sent in with my application. I have contacted my local SSA office multiple times, the national SSA hotline and I have been in contact with the USPS. No one is able to tell me where my original documents are, when they were mailed back to me, or any other information.

    I need these documents back urgently. I am also concerned that these important identity documents will end up in the wrong hands. I am at a loss for what to do and I am very disappointed about the lack of concern for my essentially lost original documents.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Caroline, thanks for using our blog. We are very sorry to hear about your experience. Please continue to work with 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.

      Reply

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