Social Security Simplifies Self-Selection of Sex Designation — But You’ll Need To Replace Your Card

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Social Security cardholders can now self-select their sex on their Social Security number records following a policy change the agency announced on Oct. 19.

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The change is part of the Social Security Administration’s Equity Action Plan, which is designed to advance equity, civil rights, racial justice and equal opportunity.

“[The plan] includes a commitment to decrease administrative burdens and ensure people who identify as gender diverse or transgender have options in the Social Security Number card application process,” Social Security Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi said in a statement. “This new policy allows people to self-select their sex in our records without needing to provide documentation of their sex designation.”

People who choose to update their sex marker in Social Security’s records will need to apply for a replacement SSN card. This requires providing a current document, such as a U.S. driver’s license, state-issued non-driver identification card or U.S. passport, to prove your identity. However, under the new policy you no longer need to provide medical or legal documentation of your sex designation.

The SSA said it will “accept the applicant’s self-identified sex designation of either male or female, even if it is different from the sex designation shown on identity documents, such as a passport or state-issued driver’s license or identity card.”

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SSN cards do not include sex markers, and the agency’s current record systems are unable to include a non-binary or unspecified sex designation. The SSA said it is “exploring” possible future policy and systems updates to support an “X” sex designation for the SSN card application process.

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Read: Social Security Administration Adds LGBTQ+ Page to Website for Pride Month

If you want to change your gender on Social Security records, visit this Social Security FAQ site, which was last modified on Oct. 7, 2022.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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