Originally intended to track Social Security contributions, your nine-digit Social Security number now is used for a wide variety of purposes.
Although some U.S. institutions will accept a taxpayer or employer identification number, virtually every major financial task in life — filing your taxes, opening a bank account, applying for a federal loan, passport, driver’s license or public assistance program, enrolling in Medicare, buying a car or home — requires you to present your Social Security card for identification and tracking purposes.
In the event of a name change, whether due to marriage, divorce or another reason, you need to notify the Social Security Administration of the change. You can apply to the SSA to have your name changed or corrected on your Social Security card, but you cannot do it online.
For a U.S.-born adult, you will need to present — either in person or by mail — at least two (not expired) original documents that verify your citizenship, name change and identity for your corrected Social Security card. The SSA might use one official form of ID, like a passport, for two purposes, but you are still required to show at least one more document.
Here are the accepted records you can use to prove your citizenship, name change and identity.
- U.S. birth certificate
- U.S. passport
- Marriage document
- Divorce decree
- Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name
- Court order approving the name change
- U.S. driver’s license
- State-issued non-driver identification card
- U.S. passport
If you cannot provide the above, the SSA will ask for supporting documents, including:
- Employee identification card
- School identification card
- Health insurance card (not Medicare)
- U.S. military identification card
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