General, Online Services, Social Security Number and Card

So You’ve Lost Your Social Security Card

July 25, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: November 3, 2023

lost ss cardLosing important documents is frustrating, especially something as important as your Social Security card.

You’ll want to consider whether you really need to get a replacement card. Knowing your number is what’s important, after all. You’ll rarely need the card itself — perhaps only when you get a new job and have to show it to your employer. If you really must replace your card, go to before visiting your local Social Security office.

The first step is to learn what documents you need. You’ll need to show us a U.S. driver’s license, a state issued non-driver identification card, or a U.S. passport to prove your identity. Sometimes you may also need to prove your current U.S. citizenship or lawful noncitizen status with a birth certificate or passport.

Keep in mind that all documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We can’t accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also can’t accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Once you’re clear on what documents you’ll need, the second step is to print the Application for a Social Security Card, so you can fill it out. Finally, the third step is to bring or mail your application and original documents to us, and the online process will take you to a screen where you can find the address of your local office.

In some areas, you can request a replacement Social Security card using your online my Social Security account if you meet certain requirements. Simply access your account and follow the instructions to replace your Social Security card. It’s safe, convenient and secure.

You can replace your Social Security card for free if it’s lost or stolen. Avoid service providers wanting to charge you a fee to get your replacement card. Keep in mind that you’re limited to three replacement cards in a year, and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions don’t count toward these limits. Changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you aren’t affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

We’ll mail your card as soon as we have all of your information and have verified your documents. Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. Frédéric P.

    Hi, I’m french and I used to work in the Walt Disney/EPCOT Center park in Orlando as a waiter in The Chefs de France restaurants back in 1987.
    To complete my career record for my future retirement in France, the french administration is asking me for my US social security number.
    After all these years and several moves, I lost it and I don’t remember the number …
    How can I get a replacement card ?
    Best regards

    • Vonda

      Hi Frederic, thanks for using our blog. We recommend that individuals living outside the United States contact the nearest Federal Benefit Unit in the area for any assistance related to Social Security programs and benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad.

  2. Harpreet S.

    We have a new born child born in October 2020 in ILLINOIS state and the hospital submitted the SSN Card for our child through the hospital Administrator and it’s been over 4 months we still haven’t receive our child SSN Card and we submitted a new application as well and provided all the original documents by drop box at the local office at Mount Prospect for the new SSN card requirements. I have called numerous times the social security office but no one telling the correct information. Some representative telling me that there are no record and some are telling me the SSN already been issued but we never received it and I asked them to get the replacement of the SSN card for our child no have any idea to explain the process or how to do it they keep telling me to keep waiting and I have been waiting more then 4 months and I also have submitted the new application for the SSN card in November 2020. No one telling the correct information or helping over the phone how to resolve this keep waiting is not the answer because we have been waiting over 4 months. Please provide the info because there is no help on the phone in person is not an option to make appointment for this reason said per the presentative. please advice

    • Vonda

      We are sorry to hear about the difficulties you are experiencing, Harpreet. Please continue to work with 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.

  3. Chris B.

    My son was born in Ohio. We live in PA. His social security card was lost. I need a replacement. I filled out all of the necessary paperwork and brought it to the local SS office. They told me the birth certificate needed to have a raised stamp. Ohio birth certificates didn’t have raised stamps on theirs. Do I need to go to a social security office in Ohio

  4. Moses H.

    I have applied for my social security card in February. Mailed in everything they asked of me to mail in. I’ve called multiple times not once have I gotten through. This is outrageous and very unprofessional it’s now March 6 and still have I not got my social security card nor have I spoke to anyone at The social security office. At this point I want to just give up trying I don’t know what else to do.

  5. Matthew L.

    So I’m in my 20s now I been trying to get a social security card since I turned 18 so I can get an I.D made but the only forms of identity is I know what my social security number is but don’t have the card I have a birth certificate and a medical card but I don’t have Bills or anything for proof because I haven’t been able to get an I.d to work or anything and have nothing else and it’s never enough when I try. Is there any help I can get ?

    • Vonda

      Hi Matthew, thank you for your question. Check out our Social Security and Coronavirus web page for details on getting help with your Social Security number. We hope this helps!

  6. Blue H.

    The photo Id scanner DOES NOT work.

    • Vonda

      Hi Blue, thanks for using our blog. If you are having difficulties taking photos of your ID, you can choose to input your ID and financial information or, if you do not have any of the financial items listed, you can register by answering credit history questions. You click on the link after “Don’t have a valid ID?” to get to the questions. We hope this helps!

  7. Claudia R.

    If you lose your card and somebody finds it… what are the dangers? shouldn’t you get a different number??

    • Vonda

      Hi Claudia, thanks for using our blog. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created a Self-Lock process. Locking an SSN helps stop individuals from using stolen SSNs to gain work authorization through E-Verify. Read more at

      To learn more about the steps individuals can take to prevent or resolve issues of identity theft, read our publication: “Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number”.

      We recommend you only obtain a replacement Social Security card if you need one. You will rarely need to show it. Knowing your Social Security number is what is important. However, if you must get a replacement card, you will need to gather documents proving both your identity and citizenship status. To see if you’re eligible to apply for a replacement Social Security card online or to learn more on the process and what documents you will need to get a card, visit our Social Security Number and Card web page. Thanks!

  8. Michael D.

    When, oh, when will it be possible to register on the SS website without a U.S. mailing address? Millions of Americans live abroad, and I imagine the majority, or near it, are retirees receiving SS, and many no longer have a U.S. address. I am one. SS really needs address this problem. It’s not 1938 anymore. Thanks in advance.

  9. Pablita R.

    I applied December 2020 for a last name change due to marriage. It is now March 1st 2021 and I have not received my new card as of this date. Please advise of what action to take ?

    • Vonda

      Hi Pablita, thanks for using our blog. 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.

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