What Proof Do I Need to Change My Name on My Social Security Card?

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If you legally change your name because you got married, divorced, through court order or any other reason, you will need to notify Social Security so you can receive a corrected card

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A name change will require several documents, the first of which will be proof of your citizenship. This means either a US passport or birth certificate. Next, you will need to provide proof of your legal name change. These documents may include:

  • Marriage document
  • Divorce decree
  • Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name
  • Court order approving the name change

Important to remember: waiting to notify social security of a name change could hurt you in the long run. Some often change their name after marriage but wait to report it to Social Security for a long time. The SSA states that waiting could prevent your wages from being posted to your social security account, which could lower your earnings in the future. It could also cause delays when filing your taxes, so it’s best to notify the social security office near you right away.

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If the documents you provide are not deemed as enough evidence of a legal name change, or you changed your name more than two years ago, you will need to show an identity document in your prior name as shown in old SS records. U.S. passports can be used for both the purposes of identity and citizenship.

You will also need to prove your identity along with your name change. The SSA will accept a U.S. driver’s license, a state-issued non-driver identification card or U.S. passport as stated above as proof of identity. If you do not have these or cannot receive a replacement within 10 days, you will need to provide other means of identity proof.

These can include a:

  • Employee identification card
  • School identification card
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card)
  • U.S. military identification card

You should not mail original primary documents to the SSA. What you can do is mail secondary evidence of identity, which is less sensitive material. The SSA also offers additional options for submitting documents, like Express Interviews by appointment and Drop Boxes where available. You will need to call your local social security office if you need to drop off your evidence or if you think you could qualify for an in-person appointment.

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Remember: appointments may not be immediately available, depending on local health and safety conditions/staffing issues due to COVID-19. A name change is unfortunately not something you can apply for online.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 
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