What To Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card

If you’ve ever lost your social security card you may have gone in to a complete panic. What do I do if someone else finds my card? Am I able to replace my card? And if I can replace it will I be penalized or have to pay some crazy amount to get another card?

One of the first things you should do is let the SS department know that you have lost your card. Not wanting anyone to worry about it but stolen identities being such an ongoing crime you don’t want to find out that someone stole yours. Alerting the government to the fact that you no longer have your card can help them help you know of any possible suspicious activity.

Have you ever wondered, what do I need my social security card for? If you know your SS number you won’t need your physical card for most things, but there are always those possible scenarios where you will be asked for it.

  • To open a bank account you may be asked to give your SS card. The bank may want more than just your SS number to prove you are truly who you say you are.
  • Getting a new job. The same as with opening a bank account your employer may want to know that you are truly the person you are claiming to be and having that physical SS card will help to prove you are that person.
  • Some doctors offices or hospitals may ask for it. If you are doing any form of payment plan to pay for a procedure the doctor’s office or hospital would need to know that you are the person you are claiming to be so that they can get their money.
  • Going to college will call for you to have a physical SS card. Just like with the hospitals and doctor’s offices you will be dealing with billing and different things that your specific identity would need to be known so that the right person is getting billed the school doesn’t have to get backlash for allowing false people to attend.
  • To get a new license or state ID you’ll need a SS card. This may not happen in every state but there are some states that will require you to show your physical SS card to get a license of ID card. If you do not have your card you will have to go to the SS office and get a temporary card or one of the SS employees to give consent that you are who you say you are.

To apply for a replacement SS card, you can use this online service if you are a U.S. citizen who is 18 years or older with a U.S. mailing address, you aren’t requesting a name change or any other change to your card; and you have a driver’s license or a state-issued ID card from one of the many participating states. Not all starts participate in this service. If you aren’t able to receive your replacement card via this service there are the SS offices in every state and in major cities.

If you aren’t able to apply and receive your replacement social security card from the government site then you are going to need some things before you visit the SS office. If you are a U.S. born citizen you will need to show the SS agent your license or state ID and your birth certificate. If you don’t have those documents your U.S. issued passport may be accepted also. You will need the original document, not a photocopy. If you mail in your application then you may not need all of this documentation but you never know if it might be asked for at a later date.

If you are foreign born U.S. citizen then the documents needed are a little different. A U.S. driver’s license, state-issued ID card or U.S. passport are still accepted, you will also need your birth certificate from the country you were born in. Other documents that you will need are Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, Certificate of Report of Birth, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

If you are a non U.S. citizen then the process is a bit different. From the ssa.gov website, “To prove your U.S. immigration status, you must show your current U.S. immigration document, which may include: Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card) with your unexpired foreign passport; I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, work permit); or I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport. If you are an F-1 or M-1 student, you also must show us your I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). If you are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must show us your DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status).”

With a replacement SS card you will have the same SS number and the original name that was on your card when it was last printed. If you’ve changed your name or gotten married since you lost your card that will be a different process than replacing it. You are allowed 3 replacement cards a year and 10 in your entire lifetime.

Once you have applied for your replacement card via online, in person or through the mail it will take up to 2 weeks or 10 business days to get your replacement card. If you are going to apply for a job in the near future then you will definitely want to start the application process days prior to going on the interview. You never know when a new employer is going to ask to see your information to verify your identity and at least if you have previously completed the application then the SS card will get to you not long after you’ve applied for the that new job.

A temporary SS card can be given if you are needing it right away. The only drawback is that the temporary card can not be given via the online site. The government will not give out or allow for documents to be printed online with citizens information on it. If you want a temporary card for any reason you are going to have to go in person to the SS office and ask for a temporary card. The temporary is given but you still have to wait for your replacement SS card to be sent to you.

If you are looking for the fastest way to get your SS card you’ll have to deal with a 3rd party application company. There are companies that are able to, for a fee, take your information via an application and can get your card to you faster than you would by sending it to the government. You will not get your card in a day or two but there is a possibility that you can get your card in half the time, if not less than that. And all of this information would be done via an online site. You wouldn’t have to meet with anyone in person.

If you have lost your SS card at least now you know what your options are to get a replacement card. You don’t have to worry that you are going to be asked to pay some out of control price to replace it or that you’ll have wait in a DMV like line/situation to get a new one. Definitely check the ssa.gov website to find out if you are able to replace your card online, if you are not able to then at least you can print out the application at home and mail in your information. It will take a minute to get your replacement card but at least once you send in the application you know that your card will be on it’s way.

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