Proper documents save time at Social Security Card Center

  • Published
  • By Rita Meier
  • Social Security Administration Public Affairs specialist
A Social Security card and number are essential for life in 21st century America. That is why Social Security wants to make sure that Airmen and their loved ones applying for a new or replacement Social Security card understand the new rules on what identifying documents are required.

Lines are long at the Las Vegas Social Security Card Center and many Airmen and their family members have to return another day because they did not have the right documents.

If you are applying for a new or replacement Social Security card, all documents presented to Social Security to prove your identity, age, citizenship or immigration status must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Social Security cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

Social Security also has strict requirements on what documents are acceptable to prove citizenship and identity.

Under the new law, only certain documents can be accepted as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport, a Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship. If you are applying for a replacement Social Security card and you are already in our records, Social Security does not need proof of your citizenship or age.

Social Security will ask you to prove your identity by providing an acceptable document that shows your name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Examples of acceptable identity documents include your U.S. driver's license, State-issued non-driver identification card or U.S. passport. These documents must be current.

If you do not have these documents or cannot get a replacement for them within 10 days, we will ask to see other proofs of identity, such as a U.S. Military ID card, employee ID card, a school ID card, a health insurance card or an adoption decree.

If you are not a U.S. citizen and are applying for a Social Security card and number, we will need to see your current U.S. immigration documents. Acceptable documents for proof of identity for non-citizens include current U.S. immigration documents from the Department of Homeland Security, such as Form I-551, I-94 with an unexpired foreign passport or a work permit card (I-766 or I-688B).

Each year millions of people change their names. Whether due to a marriage, divorce or any other situation, reporting a name change to Social Security helps ensure that you will receive proper credit for your earnings and, one day, the Social Security benefits based on those earnings. If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show proof of your legal name change. Acceptable documents include a marriage document, a divorce decree stating that you may change your name or a court order for a name change, provided that these documents give identifying information about you, such as your date of birth or age.

If the documents that you provide do not give enough identifying information about you, Social Security will ask that you also provide other documents. You will need two identity documents, one showing your old name and a second document with your new name. And these documents must have identifying information or a recent photograph.

To find out more about the rules for getting a Social Security number and card, check out our Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. The site includes all of the information you may need depending upon your personal situation, i.e., needing a replacement card, needing a card because of a change of name, needing a number for a child or a foreign-born adopted child. The Web site also has valuable information on protecting your Social Security number and on how to report a lost or stolen Social Security card.

If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the fact sheet titled New Rules for Getting A Social Security Number and Card.

Clark County residents must come to the Las Vegas Social Security Card Center located at 1250 South Buffalo Drive, Suite 100, Las Vegas, Nev., 89117.