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Replacing A Lost Social Security Card

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Luckily I’ve never lost my social security card (which is good because I have a lot of money saved up in it!) but the key to being prepared is to be educated before a crisis strikes, so today I’m just going to review what you should do if you lose your social security card and how to get a replacement.

Unfortunately, when you lose your card there is no one you can report it to in order to prevent any sort of identity theft or other shenanigans. If you were to tell the Social Security Administration, they unfortunately will do nothing because there isn’t anything they can do. Most of the time you only need the card itself when you apply for something like a job, driver’s license, etc. and need proof of identification; but when you’re applying for something like a credit card, you only need the number (the card is meaningless). So, the first thing you should do if you lose a card is to put steps into place to prevent identity theft like freezing credit reports.

How do you replace the card? You’re allowed three per year and ten lifetime, excluding name changes and a few other exceptions. If you haven’t met your maximum limit, first you want to fill out this application, and then prepare all your identification documents. You will need:

  1. U.S. driver’s license;
  2. State-issued nondriver identity card; or
  3. U.S. passport.

If you don’t have those, there are some other replacements you can use instead.

You can either mail the documents in (I doubt this is a good idea) or go to a social security card center and submit the application.

Hopefully you’ll never need this information (don’t carry your card around in your purse or wallet, you’ll never need it!) but in case you do, I hope it has helped.

{ 46 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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46 Responses to “Replacing A Lost Social Security Card”

  1. Chris says:

    Wait, what happens if you reach the 10 maximum and then lose your card? You can’t get another one? Do they deport you?

    Thanks for the info.

  2. daniel says:

    hmm….what happens when you reach the lifetime limit? are you simply left without a social security card? i may be missing something here, but the lifetime limit sounds absurd. just my opinion.

  3. Willster says:

    That lifetime limit seems a bit scary to me too. I’m only 22 and I’ve already had my SS replaced twice. Once due to flood damage, and the second time it was stolen along with some other personal belongings.

  4. alex says:

    The absolute worst thing to lose is a passport. If you do, its $100 to replace and a couple of hours during the work week.

  5. eROCK says:

    I keep my SS card in a Safe Deposit box … I guess many people carry there SS card with them?

  6. I need to get mine replaced. I’ve been w/o it for about 5 years!

  7. Nicole I. Peterson says:

    I got married last year and need to get a new social security card. My maiden name is Petersen (with an “e”) and my new last name is Peterson (with an “o”). Thanks for your help!

  8. alice jee chung says:

    how long does it take to get it replaced and
    if it takes long, is there a temporary replacement that can be used?

  9. LuzRodriguez says:

    PLease I have lost my Social Security and two of my childrens Social Securitys. I lost my purse and I really did not know how important they were until now.

  10. DENNIS gorme says:

    i lost my wallet and everything in it. so now i need a new SS CARD. I NEED IT ASAP. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DO THIS???

    FIRST AND FORMOST HOW CAN I PREVENT MYSELF FROM FROUD. SECOND
    WHAT IS THE BEST AND FASTEST WAY TO GET A NEW CARD?

    PLEASE HELP, THANKS FOR YOUR TIME, DENNIS G I HAVE COPYS OF MY CARD IF THIS WILL HELP.

  11. DENNIS gorme says:

    DEPORT THAT GUY WHO LOST HIS CARD 10 TIMES. HE HAS SOLD THEM TO HIS BUDDYS FOR CASH. SO I SAY GET HIM OUT OF THE COUNTRY.

    THERES MY 2 CENTS

  12. mystic says:

    Here is the answer to the question.

    The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458)

    Section 7213:

    Simple answer
    Yes, but it is more of a pain in the back side.

  13. John says:

    Can someone please explain to me if you need a social security card for your child and you dont know what the social security number is, without having to go and sit for 10000000 million hours at the social security office because you are stationed overseas in the military and unable to go in and to do it online?

    • Will says:

      I forget my kids SSN all every year when I fill out taxes…
      I simply use last years tax forms to look up their SSN. If you don’t have them then I don’t know. Good question!
      Will

  14. Erika Soto says:

    I lost my SS Card and I have a lot of money saved up, U.S born citizen, with an excellent clean record and no credit as of right now because I’m only 24 and I hate Credit Cards. What should I do? I am freaking out! what if someone’s using my Social? I already received a strange letter from the Hall of Records/Clerks office stating that in order to change my surname that to fill out a registration Form. I’m not married and I have never tried changing my last name… what should I do???
    Someone please help

  15. A458 says:

    I recently tried to open a bank account for my child and realized that i misplaced her card. (Along with two other children’s. DUmb. i know!) Getting a replacement has been ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! Everything is a catch-22. I guess I’m happy that it is so difficult to get a replacement, with identity theft and everything else, but when there is a true, legit need, there is nothing anyone can do to work with a person who has genuninely lost a card. DO NOT LOOSE your cards. A safe deposit box at a bank is looking better and better….

  16. fm says:

    I haven’t had my card for over 40 years. I live in Europe and know my number by heart. Never been asked for the actual card. hmmm. wonder what I should do now? keep on going and hope I die before I get asked for my card?

    fm

  17. ALEJANDRA says:

    YEA I JUST LOST MY SS A COUPLE DAYS AGO & BELIEVE ME,I WAS GOING CRAZY. IM EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD AND DONT REALLY HAVE ANY CREDIT BUT AM STILL UPSET ABOUT IT.I GOT SO SCARED THAT I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO. CAN I GET A NEW ONE AND IS THERE ANY WAY THAT I CAN KNOW HOW THIS IS GOING TO AFFECT ME & ALSO IF I CAN TRACK ANYONE WHO IS USING MY NUMBER? IM IN DESPERATE NEED FOR SOME ANSWERS! THANK YOU

  18. Stressed says:

    I have been married before and switched my driver’s license to my married name but never switched my social security card over because I was young didn’t know I had to and the marriage did not last long. Apperently when I got my divorce the lawyer never gave me my maiden name back. My social security card was stolen a while ago. I am getting married again I need a new social security card but I am kind of stuck between names. I have no clue where the old marriage license is have proof that I switched names and I don’t have an ID that says my maiden name…. What do I do?

    • j2 says:

      Hi Stressed. I am going through something similar. I lost my ss card and am going through a divorce. but i never changed my ss name to my married name. My licence is in my married name. the social security office will only give me a card with my married name because that is what is on my ID. But i cannot get my ID switched to my maiden name until the divorce is final. Its a big headache. Anyhow, at the social security office, they were able to print out a form stating that this number belongs to this person. I have been able to use that print out for jobs and such. Good luck.

  19. Linda Estrada says:

    Does anyone know how to solve this dilemma? My best friend is disabled,all of her id,passport, NY state id is expired. She doesnt have her sscard,as she lost it. When she tries to get a new one, they tell her,she needs ID, she can’t get id becasue she doesn’t have a ss card. When her mother passed she was unable to claim the money in the bank because she doesn’t have id. Is there anyway for her to get this resolved?

  20. kathy says:

    i just lost my wallet today and everything is in there including my soc card and my green card.. i’m freaking out!! :( im scared

    • Jay. says:

      OMG I’m 19 and I just lost everything my Id my green card and my social!! and now I cant even find my birth certificate i dont know what to do!

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey Jay, did you ever figure out what to do?

      • jay 2 says:

        it seems us jays have a problem with losing stuff i just lost my green card and social whilst packing up and moving out of my house. and im returning to the uk shortly so i really dont know what to do now…. fun fact im also 19 lol

  21. Wayne says:

    I have a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy hearing tomorrow afternoon in FL. The only social security card I have was laminated almost 2o years ago. I tried peeling it open a little, but everything will just fall apart. One off my requirements for tomorrow is proof of my socil security number. I do believe a laminate social security card is against the law in a FL court of law. Is there anyway around this? Would my yearly social security statement from Baltimore, MD be proof enough? I’ve lived at my current address for 11 years now.

  22. Tweety says:

    I lost my green card and social security card, went down to social security office to do card replacement. I presented my Driver’s License. They would not give me a social security card because they need to see my green card. I told them lost my green card. They needed some passport card. Didn’t know what they were talking about. I’v arrived to USA when I was around 5 or 6yrs. old. I gave them everything my father gave me that he kept. None of those documents were acceptable. I was frustrated, I need my social security card for a job. I know the process of doing a greeen card replacement but i need it within two weeks for a job…..HELP!

    • nina says:

      hes from camboida .and hes trying to get ajob ,but he cant .his mom got all the paper sand doucuments when they came to the u.s but they still give him problems ,what can we do,

    • nina says:

      sorry were going through the same thing,

  23. nina says:

    my boy friend had his social secrity card. and it got destroyed in afire, but he still has his i.d card ,hes trying to get a replacement social secrity card ,he also lost his green card, but the s.s keeps telling him that he cant get a replacement.do you have any ideas,or is threr any placse we can go to help. thanks. tiffany and michael

  24. nina says:

    thanks for your time.

  25. RJ says:

    I have lost my social security several times, and am 28 years old. I lose things very easily. What’s going to happen if I get to the 10th card, and lose that too? I’m screwed. Can I pay them to make me another card then? Money talks.


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