Applying for a job and getting a driver’s license are only two of the many essential things in life that can be impossible without a Social Security number. The use of Social Security numbers for transactions with banks, agencies at all levels of government, and schools were not what was originally intended when the Social Security Administration first began issuing Social Security cards with identifying numbers on them to all citizens almost 90 years ago.
If you don’t have a Social Security card and number, need to replace one you lost, or want to correct a mistake or make changes to the card you now have, the information in this article will explain how to go about it. Along the way, you’ll also learn more about the Social Security number and how essential it is to getting Social Security retirement and disability benefits when you need them.
What Is the Purpose of A Social Security Card?
Originally, the Social Security card and the number on it were issued as a way for the Social Security Administration to keep track of the wages people earned from work and the payroll taxes that were paid to them. This information was essential for determining eligibility for Social Security retirement and disability benefits.
The fact that each person’s Social Security is unique to them was eventually recognized by financial institutions, government agencies, and others as a method of identification. Social Security cards and numbers never expire and are not reused after a person dies. According to the Social Security Administration, it has issued more than 453 million Social Security numbers and does not expect to run out of numbers to assign.
How To Get A Social Security Card For The First Time?
The Social Security Administration uses birth registration data compiled by the states to automatically issue a Social Security card and number to children born in the United States. The process does not require an application and takes approximately 14 days from the date of birth for a card to be issued.
If you were not issued a Social Security at birth, were born in another country and became a U.S. citizen, or are a foreign national authorized to work in the U.S., you may apply for a Social Security card and number. Anyone applying for a card for the first time must appear at a Social Security office for an in-person interview.
Parents or guardians of children younger than 12 years old may apply for a card on behalf of their child. The parent or guardian may appear for the in-person interview on behalf of a child younger than age 12.
When applying for a Social Security card for the first time, you must have original or government-certified copies of documents proving that you are a U.S. citizen, age, and identity. Applicants for a Social Security card who are not U.S. citizens must furnish proof of their immigration status. Examples would be lawful permanent residents, commonly referred to as green card holders, and noncitizens who have work visas allowing them to enter and work in the U.S. It typically takes about two weeks for a new Social Security card to be issued.
You may be able to start the process to obtain a new Social Security card with an online application if you meet all of the following requirements:
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You are a U.S. citizen or are applying for a child who is a citizen.
- You have a mailing address in the U.S. or are outside of the U.S. as a member of the military or diplomatic services.
You can start the application online, but completion of the process requires an in-person visit to a local Social Security office.
Replacing A Lost Or Damaged Card
A lost or damaged Social Security may not need to be replaced as long as you know your Social Security number. However, you can obtain a new card to replace one that was lost or damaged by applying online to the Social Security Administration.
You need a driver’s license, state-issued identification, or another form of identification to apply for a replacement card online. Unlike when applying for a card for the first time, you do not have to go to a Social Security office to complete the process. It typically takes 14 days for a card to be sent to you.
Social Security Disability Benefits And Your Social Security Card
You need a Social Security number to apply for Social Security disability benefits, but you may not need a Social Security card. A disability lawyer at Sackett and Associates will gladly help you through the disability application process and answer any questions that you may have about it. Contact us today for a free disability consultation.