If you are engaged to be married or have recently gotten married, this is an exciting time and a major life transition. In addition to celebrations with your new spouse, friends and family, you’ll also need to consider some important practical and legal impacts of your marriage. One of these is the need to update your records with the SSA (Social Security Administration) and ensure you have an up-to-date, accurate social security card.
If you change your name when you get married, you’ll have to change the name on the social security card to reflect your new name. If you don’t currently have a social security card, you’ll have to request a new or replacement social security card reflecting your updated name. Figuring out how to get a new Social Security card after marriage or how to change your SS card after marriage can feel daunting, but don’t worry.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about handling your social security responsibilities and needs following a legal name change due to marriage.
If you’ve never had a social security card before, you will need to apply for a new one. If you used to have a social security card but have lost it, you will need to report the lost social security card and apply for a replacement SS card. If you have a social security card now, you will just need to request a corrected SS card.
In any of these cases, the application you use will be the same, but the documentation requirements may be different. If you’ve been issued a social security number previously, the SSN on your corrected or replacement social security card will be the same; only the name listed on the card will change.
The documents the Social Security Administration requires with your application may be slightly different depending on your situation. You will generally need to provide documents in three categories: proof of identity, a document supporting your name change and proof of citizenship (unless the SSA already has this on file for you).
Keep in mind that the Social Security Administration accepts only original documents or certified copies from the issuing authority. They will not accept photocopies, notarized copies or receipts proving that you have applied for the needed documents. The SSA will return your original documents to you after processing your application.
You will need to provide a document that proves your identity, such as a current driver’s license. The document can’t be expired. Several documents the SSA will accept include:
Like a driver’s license, a non-driver identification card is usually issued by your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles office (DMV).
If these documents aren’t available and you can’t get one of them within 10 business days, the Social Security Administration will accept other documents as proof of identity. Some examples of these alternate documents include:
If you weren’t born in the United States, you will need to provide current immigration documents showing your immigration status (such as a green card) and your foreign passport.
The Social Security Administration advises that it will not accept the following documents as proof of identity: a birth certificate (either an official one or a hospital souvenir certificate), social security card stub, or a social security record. The SSA also won’t accept a Medicare card as proof of identity.
To support your request for a name change in your social security record after you marry, you must provide proof of your legal name change. Acceptable proof includes:
If the document you provide doesn’t include sufficient information for the SSA to identify you in their records or if you’ve waited more than two years since changing your name to update your social security record, you will be asked to provide proof of identity in your old name matching the SSA’s records (it’s okay if this document is expired).
If you don’t have any proof of identity in your former name, the SSA can accept a current (unexpired) identity document in your new name.
If you have previously provided proof of citizenship to the SSA, this isn’t required. However, if the SSA doesn’t have proof of citizenship already on record for you, you will need to provide it. Acceptable documents to prove citizenship are:
The document requirements above assume that you are a U.S. citizen. If you are not a citizen, you may have to provide additional documents.
Now that you have the necessary documents, here’s how to apply for a social security card. To update your record with the Social Security Administration and apply for a corrected social security card, you will need to fill out an application, called an SS-5 form.
Download the application form. Note, you will need a computer software that lets you open PDF files, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.
You can print the form on white, 8.5” by 11” standard letter paper, and fill it out by hand using blue or black ink. Be sure to write legibly, fill out all the relevant sections, and sign at the end. Or you can opt to handle the application process online if you prefer (more on that below).
In either case, you will need to have the required documents ready to submit along with your application.
You have three options for filing your application with the Social Security Administration.Option 1: Apply online.
Applying online is a quick and easy way to update your name on your social security record and get a social security card showing your new name. Utilize our simple online tools to complete the application online. You can do it from the convenience of home without ever having to visit a social security office.Option 2: Go to a Social Security Administration office.
You can complete the process by taking your completed, printed application and supporting documents to a nearby social security office. You can find your local office with our social security office locator.
Some people prefer an in-person process. However, you may have to take time away from work to do this, since local SSA office hours are typical weekday business hours. Long lines are common and you may have to make a second trip if you are missing any required documents.
If you have questions, unfortunately, it is not possible to call your local social security office in advance since their phone numbers are not published. Instead, you would need to call the main phone line for the Social Security Administration, where hold times can be very long. The Social Security Administration’s website advises that calling early in the day and later in the week can sometimes help you shorten the time on hold - but the wait can still be significant.
However, if you are certain you filled out the application correctly, have all the necessary documents in order, and have free time during weekday business hours, you can head to your local social security office to file your application. The SSA office can give you a temporary social security card printout to use until your official one arrives in the mail.Option 3: Mail in your application.
You can also mail in your application to a Social Security Card Center or SS office in your area.
The benefit of this approach is that you don’t have to make a trip in person or wait in any lines.
The downside is that you will have to mail your original supporting documents and then, wait for the SSA to return them by mail after your application is processed. This can pose problems if you need any of the documents for another purpose while you wait for the SSA to return them to you.
Now you’re probably wondering how long to get a social security card with your name change. Whichever filing option you choose, once the Social Security Administration receives your completed application, they will mail you an updated social security card in 1-2 weeks.