How to Receive a Free Replacement Social Security Card

by Charley Prescott ; Updated November 28, 2017

If you recently lost your Social Security card or it was stolen, you are eligible for a free replacement. Immediately call your police department and file a theft report if your Social Security card was stolen. Social Security cards are a vital part of verifying identity for employment and in other situations. To receive a replacement card, you need to have one document to prove your identity, and you need to know the Social Security number.

Go to the Social Security Online website. Print out form SS-5, the application for a Social Security card. Read the directions carefully. You will supply information including your name, Social Security number and date of birth. Fill out the form using black or blue ink, and sign it.

Locate your document that will prove your identity. Acceptable documents include a U.S. state-issued driver's license, U.S. state-issued identification card, or U.S. passport. According to the application for a Social Security card, "If you do not have one of the documents above or cannot get a replacement within 10 work days, we may accept other documents that show your legal name and biographical information, such as a U.S. military identity card, Certificate of Naturalization, employee identity card, certified copy of medical record (clinic, doctor or hospital), health insurance card, Medicaid card, or school identity card/record. For young children, we may accept medical records (clinic, doctor or hospital) maintained by the medical provider. We may also accept a final adoption decree, or a school identity card or other school record maintained by the school." Acceptance of any alternative documents is at the discretion of the Social Security Administration.

Verify that your document is an original document or one certified by the custodian of the original record. Your application cannot be processed without the proper documentation, because the Social Security Administration wants to make sure all documents are authentic. According to the application for a Social Security card, "We can only accept original documents or documents certified by the custodian of the original record. Notarized copies or photocopies which have not been certified by the custodian of the record are not acceptable. We will return any documents submitted with your application."

Mail in the completed form with your proof of identification, or go to your local Social Security office. A link for "Local Office Search" is available in the Resources section, or you will find the link at the bottom of page 3 of the application. If you mail in your application, adding special options like insurance or signature upon delivery is up to you. SSA however, is not responsible for the loss of your identification in the mail. If you choose to mail in your application, it takes 10 to 14 days to receive the new replacement Social Security card.

Call 800-772-1213 if you have questions on the status of your card.


  • If you go to your local office, arrive early when lines are shorter. Go to your local Social Security office if you need proof of your Social Security number for employment purposes. The office can provide you with an official letter on the spot to give your employer.

    If your Social Security card was stolen, the Federal Trade Commission says you should call the three credit bureaus, who can place an initial fraud alert on your credit reports. A link is provided under Resources for the FTC, which contains the contact numbers for the credit bureaus toward the top of the page.

Our Everyday Video

Brought to you by LEAFtv
Brought to you by LEAFtv

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Charley Prescott has been writing since 2004. She has traveled the country and world extensively while working in the fashion industry. Her work appears on eHow, focusing on topics such as gardening, fashion and travel.