Privacy & Identity, Social Security Number and Card

Social Security Cards Are Safer at Home

March 23, 2023 • By

Reading Time: 1 Minute

Last Updated: March 23, 2023

Close-up of Social Security cardsScams to steal your personal information are at an all-time high. It’s important to continue to safeguard personal documents such as your Social Security card.

A Social Security card is not an identification document. In many situations, you only need to know your Social Security number (SSN). Your physical card is not necessary for most business needs.

Do you need evidence for work? There are several documents you can use instead of your card. Other acceptable evidence includes the following:

  • Birth Certificate.
  • Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt.
  • Employment Authorization Document.
  • Form I-94 or Form I-94A.

You do not need to show your physical card to apply for certain benefits. You can simply provide your SSN for benefits like:

  • Housing.
  • Health insurance.
  • Food assistance.

You should also know your physical card is not required as evidence for the Department of Motor Vehicles or Driver License (REAL ID). The only state that requires a physical card is Pennsylvania. For all other states, other acceptable evidence includes:

  • W-2 forms.
  • Form SSA-1099.
  • Non-SSA-1099 forms.
  • Pay stubs.

Keeping your card at home reduces the risk of loss or theft – and helps you keep your information safe.

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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


  1. Ann C.

    Hi, Amber. We are sorry to hear about your experience. 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.

  2. Walt

    Easily 50 percent of the customer traffic at SSA Field Offices are folks applying for a replacement card or for a name change.

    Charging a user fee (just like at a DMV) would drop that percentage considerably..

  3. Jane P.

    I faxed a letter and a copy of my paycheck stub to Social Security and I just gave them the last four digits of my social security number they mailed it back to me and said it was too dark they couldn’t read it they handwritten my social security number on the top of the letter and they put a little 🙂 on it I mailed it back to me and the envelope wasn’t sealed when I got it I’m wondering why did they put my full social security number on the mail someone could have stolen that

    • ASHLEY R.

      Social security number card

      • Ann C.

        Hi, Ashley. Thanks for visiting our blog. First, realize that you may not need a replacement card. You will rarely need to show it. Knowing the Social Security number is what is important. 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 please visit our Social Security Number and Card page. Keep in mind all submitted documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency and must (unless otherwise indicated) have been issued within the last two years. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. Once you’ve submitted all the needed documents, it can take up to 10 business days from the date we received the application to mail a replacement card. We hope this helps.

        • ASHLEY R.

          Social security card

  4. fbfitness

    Thanks for sharing this beneficial Information.

  5. Thomas H.

    Recently I was scammed into giving my full Social Security number. I’m hoping someone from the fraud department reads this and can help me by putting a note that if anyone trying to acquire information using my Social Security number.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Thomas. We are sorry to hear you are having this problem. Victims of identity theft should go to and report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). Social Security has identity theft information, too. Please check out our publication, Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number. We hope this helps. 

  6. Cole

    Dawn bystry made up the name list it’s full of poop

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