How to Change the Name on Your Social Security Card

If you decide to change your name, you will typically need to notify the Social Security Administration. “Everyone registered with the Social Security Administration who completes a legal name change, including U.S. citizens and noncitizens, should request a corrected card following a legal name change,” says Terra Gross, an attorney and founder of Attuned Legal in Evanston, Illinois. The process is required so that your earnings can be reported correctly.

The steps you need to take to change your name on your Social Security card include:

— Obtain documentation of the finalized legal name change.

— Fill out a free Social Security card application.

— Show proof of your original name and citizenship.

Read on to see what is required to make a name change and receive a new Social Security card.

[READ: How Much You Will Get From Social Security.]

Gather Documents to Verify the New Name

To change your name, you’ll need to have documentation that shows your new legal name. “Often name changes are requested due to marriage or divorce, an error on an original birth certificate for a minor child, legal adoption, a noncitizen establishing U.S. citizenship with a name change request or a court-ordered name change,” says Keisha Merritt-Grant, a claims specialist with the Social Security Administration in Chicago.

There is frequently a time delay between the event that triggers the name change and the finalization of the new name. For instance, a marriage ceremony might signal a name change and the documents containing the new name will need to be submitted to the SSA after the event to make the adjustment.

The documents that show your new name could include:

— A marriage certificate.

— A divorce decree.

— A court order listing the name change.

— A certificate of U.S. naturalization.

All documents must be original or a certified copy to be accepted by the SSA.

Complete the Social Security Card Application

For name change requests, you’ll need to complete the SS-5 Application for a Social Security Card. This form is available online at the SSA website. Once you have it filled out, you can contact your local SSA office. You may be able to set up an appointment to bring in the form, along with the documentation of the name change. “Name changes that are necessary to assist people who need updated documentation to obtain income, resources, medical care or coverage or other services or benefits are still prioritized for in-person appointments during the pandemic,” Gross says. You can also request a name change on your Social Security card by mail.

[See: 10 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know.]

Show Evidence of Your Identity

When you visit your local SSA office or send in documents, you will be required to show or include documentation that reflects your identity. Your documentation will need to have a photo and not be expired.

Documents that prove your identity may include:

— A current U.S. passport.

— A current U.S. driver’s license.

— A current state-issued identification card.

If you don’t have one of these, the SSA may accept other documents. The documentation will need to be current and display your name along with your date of birth or age and, if possible, a recent photograph. Additional identity documents might be an employee identification card, a school identification card, a health insurance card that is not Medicare or a U.S. military identification card.

If the SSA doesn’t have proof that you are a U.S. citizen in its records, you may need to show evidence of U.S. citizenship.

Documents that prove your citizenship include:

— A birth certificate from the U.S. or report of birth abroad.

— An unexpired U.S. passport.

— A certificate of naturalization.

— A certificate of citizenship.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need to show proof of identity and authorization to work in the U.S. along with the passport from your original country and a legal record of your name change.

All documentation must be the original record or a certified copy. The SSA will not accept photocopies or notarized copies of official documents.

[READ: How to Get a Replacement Social Security Card.]

Apply for a Social Security Card With Your New Name

Once the SSA accepts and approves your required documents, a new card will be issued. “Getting a new card will not cost you anything,” says Gerald Dunigan, founder of in Davenport, Iowa. After the application is processed, a new card will typically arrive within several weeks. “The number will stay the same,” Dunigan says.

In addition to changing your Social Security card, it can be helpful to update your other official documents. This could include your passport, driver’s license and other personal accounts like credit cards and bank accounts. Let your employer and others know of your new name so that all your records will match.

More from U.S. News

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How to Change the Name on Your Social Security Card originally appeared on

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