Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.
A lost social security card may not seem like a big deal, especially if you’ve memorized your social security number, but not having it can cause issues in the long run. Many people use the card to verify their identity for everything from passports to employment. So what should you do if you lose yours? Here’s how to replace a lost social security card.
It’s easier than you might think to replace a lost SS card. As long as you have the right documentation and a little time set aside, you could request a replacement card almost immediately.
Take these steps to get the ball rolling:
You will need to prove you are who you say you are before the government will send you a replacement card. Here is a list of documents that you will need:
Check the Social Security Administration website to find a full list of the documents that are acceptable for each category.
There are a few ways to apply for a replacement for your lost ss card, depending on what is more convenient for you.
Apply online: Go to the Social Security Administration’s website to start the process.
If you live in the following states, you CANNOT apply online for a replacement social security card: Alabama, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, West Virginia. You also can’t use the online application if you are requesting a name change.
Apply in person: Applying in person can take more time than applying online, but it also guarantees that you are talking to the right people, getting your questions answered and providing the correct information. Here is how to apply in person:
Two weeks, generally. This is from the time your application is submitted, whether you applied online or in a Social Security Administration office. If you go into the office, they will give you a paper saying that you have applied for a replacement card, which should help if you need to use your card to verify your identity at any point.
Replacing a child’s social security card is essentially the same process as replacing your own card. You will need the correct documentation for your child, which generally includes a birth certificate or a passport.
Applying for a social security number: If your child never received a social security number, then the process is a little more complicated. Any child over the age of 12 will have to submit to an interview to prove their identity. You’ll also need records from all their schools or any employment that they have had. You will also need to provide documentation to prove your own identity and your relationship to the child.
If your card is stolen, you’ll still need to replace it, but there are additional steps to take in order to keep your identity from being stolen.
Even if you lose your card, it might be a good idea to take these steps just in case someone else finds it.
$0. The government does not charge you to replace a social security card.
No. It generally takes two weeks (up to 14 business days) to receive a new social security card from the government once your application has been processed. Applying online can make the process quicker since you won’t need to schedule an appointment at the social security office.
Yes. If you go to the local office, provide the correct documentation and go through the application process, they will provide you with proof that your card is on its way, which can help in situations where you need the card to prove your identity. You cannot get a temporary card online.
Your social security card is not something you need to keep on you at all times. If you have your social security number memorized, you should keep your social security card in a fire-proof safe or a safety deposit box at the bank. This helps prevent you from losing it, which can cause major identity theft headaches.
The Social Security Administration offers three different types of cards, depending on your citizenship status in the country:
Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.