Vital record replacement: How to get a new social security card after a name change
How to get a new social security card after marriage, divorce, or a name change.
Congratulations, you’ve just gotten married and now you need to change all your personal documents to your new married name. The most important name change you can make is your Social Security Card. Unless you change your name with the Social Security Administration, you cannot change your name at work or file your taxes on a joint return using your new name.
The same applies if you have recently divorced. In that case, you will have to use your married name until you change your name with the Social Security Administration.
The procedure for doing a name change is relatively easy, but it will require a trip to your local Social Security Office. For those living in smaller towns it may require a trip to a larger city to find an office. It is possible to do it by mail, but I would not recommend sending the original documents through the post office. The probability of them getting lost is too high for the small benefit.
The items you need to gather are your marriage or divorce papers, your current social security card and your driver’s license or other picture identification. You may also need your birth certificate although they have never asked for mine, but if you have it, take it along just in case.
If you are filing for a new name due to divorce, be sure that your divorce papers grant you the right to return to your former name. I think it is standard now in most cases, but you will want to make sure.
I would suggest calling the office ahead of time to make sure they will be open on the day you plan to visit and be sure to ask what time of day is the best to arrive. I would suggest avoiding the first week and last week of the month, as these are the busiest times.
On the day of your visit, go armed with your documentation, a good attitude and lots of patience. Depending on the size of the city, there may or may not be a wait.
Another thing to consider is the items in your purse. Most Federal Buildings are now equipped with metal detectors. If at all possible, take only the items you really need.
When you arrive at the office, take your number and be patient. Know that, barring unusual circumstances, your turn will last less than ten minutes.
Have your paperwork ready when before number is called. When it’s your turn, have a smile on your face. Be as pleasant to the worker as possible. They are only doing their job and if you are pleasant they will be also. Tell them you would like to change your name on your card.
They will ask you several questions in order to prove your identity beyond a shadow of their doubt. Some of those questions will be: Mother’s name, Father’s Name, Last Names you have used in the past, and place of birth. Be ready for those answers. They will ask for and keep your old Social Security Card.
At this visit they will also update your address on file so your new card can be mailed to you. You will be asked to verify all the information once they have printed it out. Once you sign the sheet, your name will be considered changed.
They will give you a copy of your application for a new card to use as proof that you have applied and changed your name. This paper can be used in place of your card until the new one arrives.
Be sure to thank your worker for their time. Your new card will arrive in the mail within ten days of your visit. If it doesn’t, the application sheet will have a number for you to call. The Social Security Administration is one of the most efficient agencies in the Federal Government, so I don’t believe you will have any problems.