How Do I Change or Correct My Name on My Social Security Card?

In this article...
  • To change or correct your name on your Social Security card, you need proof of marriage, divorce, naturalization or court decree, plus proof of identity. There is no cost and your Social Security number will not change.

Your Social Security number allows the federal government to identify and accurately record all the covered wages or self-employment earnings you have collected while working. It is also used to monitor and pay Social Security benefits when you become eligible for them.

Everyone needs a Social Security number to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services. The number is recorded on a Social Security card, which should be stored in a safe place with other important documents.

Your Social Security number never changes – but your name might. If your name changes for any reason, such as marriage, divorce, court order or personal choice, you must alert the Social Security Administration (SSA) so it can update your information, send you a corrected card and ensure that you will get your earned benefits when you are eligible to collect them.

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How to Change Your Name with Social Security

To change your name with SSA, you must provide documents that prove your legal name change and identity. If you are a U.S. citizen, you also must provide a document proving your U.S. citizenship if you have not already done so.

SSA requires that you provide the original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. SSA will not accept photocopies or notarized copies.

To prove a legal name change, you must show one of the following documents:

  • Marriage document
  • Divorce decree
  • Certificate of naturalization showing a new name
  • Court order for a name change

How to Prove Your Identity

You must also prove your identity. To do so, you must show an unexpired legal document showing your name, identifying information and photograph, such as:

  • U.S. driver’s license
  • State-issued non-driver’s identification card
  • U.S. passport

SSA says that those who don’t have one of those documents may be able to prove identity with one of the following:

  • Employer identification card
  • School identification card
  • Health insurance card
  • U.S. military identification card

How to Prove U.S. Citizenship

To prove your U.S. citizenship, you must provide one of the following documents:

  • U.S. birth certificate
  • U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • U.S. passport (unexpired)
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of Citizenship

What Should Noncitizens Do?

Legal immigrants who are not U.S. citizens can still get a Social Security card and change or correct a card. You must provide:

  • Immigration documents to prove your identity and authorization to work in the United States
  • Foreign passport.
  • A legal record of a name change

SSA has posted a pamphlet online with more details for noncitizens.

Where to Find the Forms

The form needed to apply for a new or replacement Social Security card, and to correct or change any information on the card, is available on the SSA website.

You can fill out the form online, print it out and mail it to SSA. Be careful to follow the instructions to make sure your Social Security card is delivered in a timely manner.

If you prefer to apply in person, you can find your nearest SSA field office. Be sure to bring the required documents listed above.

How Much Does It Cost?

There is no charge to apply for or receive a new or corrected Social Security card. The new card should arrive 10 to 14 days after your application is processed. You will keep the same Social Security number.

What If I Don’t Tell Social Security?

Failing to notify SSA of a name change can have serious consequences. If your legal name does not agree with the name on your Social Security card, the IRS may have issues processing your tax returns and Social Security benefits may not be credited to you.

For more information, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778). Or go to

Have Medicare questions?

Talk to a licensed agent today to find a plan that fits your needs.

About the Author

David Levine is an award-winning writer and editor whose work has been featured in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated, American Heritage, U.S. News & World Report and others.

David has covered health, health insurance and health policy topics – among many others – since 2017. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in English from the University of Rochester and currently lives in Albany, New York.

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