By Vonda Van Til, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
Social Security offices are currently open only for in-person appointments for limited, critical situations, depending upon local office conditions. However, you can continue to apply for a replacement Social Security card online and by mail. Before requesting a replacement card, please remember that you might not need the physical card. Most of the time, simply knowing your Social Security number is enough.
If you have a critical situation that requires you to have a physical card and you cannot apply by mail or online, you should call your local Social Security office. Please visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates page for more information at www.ssa.gov/coronavirus.
If you don’t need any changes to your Social Security Number record (such as a name or date of birth change), applying for a replacement card online is your most convenient option. You don’t need to mail proof or visit an office.
You can use our online application if you are an adult, have a State-issued drivers’ license or non-driver identification card, and live in the District of Columbia or one of the 45 States (including Michigan) that verifies State-issued documents for us. All you need to do is create a my Social Security account to access and complete the online application at www.ssa.gov/myaccount/replacement-card.html.
Applying by Mail
We require proof of your identity with your replacement card application (www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf), usually a State-issued drivers’ license or non-driver identification card, or U.S. passport. We call these documents “primary” identity proofs. We understand mailing primary identity proofs with your replacement card application can be challenging. To help, we are temporarily expanding our policy to accept alternative identity documents—or what we call “secondary proofs” — when you cannot mail primary proof.
Acceptable secondary proofs include, but are not limited to:
- Employee identification card.
- School identification card.
- Health insurance card (not a Medicare card).
- U.S. military identification card.
These proofs must be current (not expired), show your name and identifying information (such as your date of birth or age), and be an original or a certified copy.
If you need to change your name, when you mail your replacement card application, you will need to submit proof of identity plus proof of the name change. The proof of identity can be primary or secondary proof. Proof of the name change could be a marriage certificate, divorce decree, Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name, or a court order approving the name change.
You may be able to submit one document to serve as proof of your name change and identity.
For example, you may submit a marriage certificate as proof of name change and identity if the certificate shows the marriage occurred within the prior two years and:
- Includes your prior name.
- Includes your age, birth date or parents’ names.
- This information matches your Social Security Number record.
We will return any documents you send us.
Vonda Van Til is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at email@example.com.