How to Apply For a Replacement Social Security Card

Your Social Security card is one of your most important documents because it contains your Social Security number. You may be at risk of identity theft if your card falls into the wrong hands. You can, however, limit your damage by acting quickly in requesting a replacement card. In this article, we will discuss what to do if you lose your Social Security card and how to apply for a replacement Social Security card.

Do you even need a replacement Social Security card?

Before we discuss what to do if you lose your Social Security card and how to apply for a replacement Social Security card, it is important for you to determine whether or not you need a replacement card. Knowing your Social Security number is more important than having the Social Security card itself.

It is because you rarely need to use the card. The card is mainly needed if you get a new job, or you need to show it to your employer. Also, you may not be able to secure employment or collect benefits without your Social Security card. So, even if you lose your card, you may never be required to have it if you know your Social Security number.

Although losing your Social Security card isn’t the end of the world, it does expose you to the risk of identity theft. If you lose your card or it gets stolen, and it ends up in the hands of scammers, they may be able to steal your vital personal details.

Scammers can use that information to take out loans or credit cards in your name. They may even gain access to your online bank or credit card accounts and use them to shop for anything with your money.

Fraudsters can also use your Social Security card to collect your accumulated retirement benefits, file for disability benefits under your name, or report your death to collect your life benefits.

Scammers could also use your Social Security number to file your income tax return in order to pocket the tax refund. They may also sell your Social Security number on the dark web.

What to do if you lose your Social Security card

The first thing you need to do when you realize that you have lost your Social Security card is to stay calm. It will help you to limit your potential loss by allowing you to make the right decisions.

Next, you need to immediately contact your local law enforcement and the Social Security Administration to report the loss of your card. Now, you can apply for a replacement card.

How to request a replacement Social Security card

You can apply for a replacement card for free either online (through the SSA website) or in person.

Applying online is the easiest way to get a replacement card. You need to visit “my Social Security account” and answer a few questions to find out the best way to apply. If you are unable to use your Social Security account to request a replacement card, you can still start the process online and complete the remaining process in person at a local Social Security office or card center.

A point to note is that not all states allow you to apply for a replacement card online (visit the SSA website for more details).

If you are unable to start the application process online, you will have to complete the full process in person at your local Social Security office. To save time, you can print and complete the application form before you arrive.

To apply for the card offline, you can call 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office. If you are deaf or have difficulty hearing, you need to call 1-800-325-0778 (between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays).

To apply for the replacement card, you will need a document that proves your U.S. citizenship and identity, such as a U.S. passport, U.S. state driver’s license or Government-issued ID card.

In case these documents have also been stolen, you can use other identification documents, including your health insurance ID, details from your healthcare provider, documents from your employer or your school institution.

It must be noted that documents you need must be either original or copy certified by the issuing agency. The SSA doesn’t accept photocopies or notarized copies, and, as well, you will need a receipt showing you applied for the document.

How much time will it take?

According to the SSA, it will mail the replacement card as soon as it has all the information needed to issue a new card. It usually takes 7-10 business days from that time to get the card. In the case of mail-in Social Security card applications, the SSA says it could take between 2-4 weeks to process it and return the evidence.

According to the SSA, for those who are using Form I-765 and/or Form I-485 it will issue the replacement card within 7-10 business days after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Department approves the applicant’s work authorization or Permanent Residence application.

Final Words

This summarizes what to do if you lose your Social Security card and how to apply for a replacement Social Security card. Remember, you get a replacement card for free if it’s lost or stolen, and thus, you must not fall for service providers who charge you a fee for the replacement card. Keep in mind that you can get three replacement cards in a year (10 during your lifetime).