How to Change Name on Social Security Card

Perhaps the most important card in your wallet, even surpassing your driver’s license, is your Social Security Card. It is vital that the information on your Social security card is correct, especially your name. This little card is your proof of United States citizenship and is used as an identifier for many programs and services.

You need to produce your Social Security card when you apply for your driver’s license or your passport. Your name must be correct when you register to vote. So, if you get married, divorced or choose to change your name, you will need  a name change on your social security card. How do you go about it?

How does one go about making this change so that you have a correct Social Security card? You will have to contact the Social Security Administration and request a name change for your account. The SSA representative will inform you of:

  • The documents you will need
  • The ways you can initiate this change; in person, by mail, online
  • How long it will take to have the change made
  • Any other information or requirements you will need to meet

Depending upon the method used to request a new card with the name change, it can take as many as ten business days to receive your new card with the correct name.

Changing Name on a Social Security Card

No matter how you are applying, the first thing you will need to do is locate your local Social Security office and get their mailing address. In order to do this, you can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or use the social security office locator.

Whether you complete the application online, in person or by hand, you will need to provide a certain set of documents to the Social Security Administration. This set of documents is the same no matter what method you use to apply.

Documents Required for a Name Change

To begin with all documents given to the Social Security Administration must be original documents or if they are copies, they must come from the issuing agency and certified by that agency. No copies, even notarized copies or receipts for requested copies will be accepted by the SSA.

Your documentation should prove your legal name change, your U.S. citizenship and your identity.

Legal Name Change requires one of these:

  • Marriage Certificate and License
  • Divorce Decree
  • Court Order

U.S. Citizenship requires one of these:

  • U.S. Birth Certificate
  • U.S. Passport

Identification requires one of these:

  • Must be current, include name, date of birth or age, recent photo.
  • State I.D. or Driver’s License
  • U.S. Passport

If for any reason you cannot produce these documents, you may use:

  • Health Insurance Card other than Medicare
  • Employee I.D.
  • Military I.D.
  • School I.D.

You must have at least one document with a current photo.

If you changed your name over two years ago or the documents, you provide do not identify you well enough you will also have to show documentation of your name prior to the change.

Initiating the Change

  • Online – You cannot apply online, but you can initiate the process.
    • Download and print the following PDF
    • Fill in all the requested information.
    • Sign the SS5 form.
    • Attach the documents listed above and mail them into the Social Security Administration.

Once you mail your packet with SS-5 and your original documents it will take 10-14 days for your new card to come in the mail and your original documents will be returned.

  • In person at your local Social Security Administration Office
    • Locate your local SSA office online or call 1-800-772-1213
    • Compile all the documents mentioned above.
    • Take the competed, signed application form and compiled documentation to the local SSA office and meet with a representative.

Once you have filed your application and documentation with the local SSA office it will take about 10 business days to receive your new card and original documents in the mail.


If you have never established citizenship prior to this request, you will need to do so now.  This is simply a matter of presenting additional documents to prove your identity and legal status in the United States. This would be your current immigration documents and the reason you need a Social Security Number and card.

If you are not a citizen you will need these documents to prove status, work eligibility, identity and name change.

  • Lawful Permanent Resident Card – Form 1-551.
  • Employment Authorization Document – Form I-766.
  • Arrival/Departure Record – I-94
  • Students must show F-1 or M-1 and Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status
  • J-1 or J-2 Students must show DS-2019 – Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.

If you are married to a same sex partner the same procedures would apply. You both have the same options as opposite sex couples in respect to Social Security Spousal benefits.

23 thoughts on “How to Change Name on Social Security Card”

  1. I had gone in on December 21, 2018, to change my last name on my social security card. I have yet to receive my new social security card and I am very irritated, to say the least about not receiving it. I was wondering if I needed to go in again and get things arranged again or if I have to keep waiting?

    1. Did you ever receive your card? I’m looking to drive from Canada or mail. Your experience is concerning.

  2. I mailed my application on 03/12 and today is 04/22 and i just got a letter in the mail saying they denied my app because i sent a photo copy of my DL, surely they dont expect me to go around driving with out no licence but apparently only originals can me accepted no photo copies . So I have to start all over! 10 day my a** ! Not happy

  3. Betty Sorrentino

    I have a soc sec card. I have a Medicare card. I have moved. Do you need the new address?

  4. George Pirkel

    Social security change my name 65 years ago and they don’t know why now I can’t get a driver’s license I don’t have a birth certificate.

    1. Evidently unknown to me social security change my last name in 1976! Had no idea until i went to sign up for my ss benefits! Tried to get it corrected in ss office with no help from them! Now i’m trying to sign up for Medicare but the wrong name listed with ss. Can’t find any help on correcting this😦 Please somebody HELP!!!

    1. Idk if it’s too late for this to be helpful, but this comment is public, and you probably should edit the post if possible to remove all of your personal identifying information, dates, numbers etc.

  5. My middle initial is incorrect on my SS card. Do I need to fill out an entire application and send documents? It has been this way for 47 years. I am 81 years old. Please advise.

    1. Margarita Ramos

      I am 70 years old a citizen born Manhattan New York. My birth certicate first name is Marguerita. My mother showed me to write Margarita , since chilhood is this a ok the social security the worker saw my birth cert. When I applied for SSR she didnot anything.Your records shows I been present with my documents and they left my first name as is. Do I have to correct my first name ? Please advise me what to do. Thank you

    2. Hi, my dad is going through an issue same as one of the comments above. He has a different middle name on his birth certificate than on his Social Security Card. What does he need to do in order to change it on the Social Security end to match his birth certificate?

  6. If I cannot go down to the social security office can I send someone to represent me, and if yes what ID does my representative need.

  7. 15 minutes stuck in the phone tree listening to the robot list names and numbers of laws I really don’t give a rat’s ass about — thanks for time I can’t get back. (Try a phone option offering the legal crap and quit wasting my time.) Our original marriage certificate burned in a fire. The issuing office will only hand us an embossed certified copy of it, which according to both this site and the phone tree, is not acceptable. In addition, because I didn’t want to go through this hassle when we got married, you now want ADDITIONAL documentation. JFC. SSA has got access to literally hundreds of pictures, documents, etc, including MY SECURITY CLEARANCE.

    This is as bad as the Soviet Union ever was. Papers, please, comrade.

    Not worth it. I’ve spent DAYS on this. DAYS. And am no further along than when I started, and have completely lost my sense of humor about dealing with the feds.

  8. sfn number socail secuity adrimintion 123 willm st manttan ny 10038 10 life time natulaztion
    name change to julio cabera sfn 072621319A BIRTH NAME JULIO CABERA OLD NAME

  9. I am due to renew my license before April. With REAL ID, I have run into a wall. My middle name is so long that on my Social Security Card and my current Driver’s License, only my middle initial is on both. The DMV reps who were actually very kind, have informed me that I have to have my Social Security Card changed to match my birth certificate. It is not a legal name change, so I am curious if the documentation necessary is the same. Even my Health Insurance Card does not list more than my initial. I am trying to be as prepared as possible. Thanks.

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