Your Social Security number is attached to most of your personal and financial records. So losing your Social Security card is a very frightening experience. Even if you lose it, you might think that you’re okay because you can recite the number without a moment’s thought. But it is always important to have your card. This is because any employer may request it, or you want to use it for other reasons such as opening a bank account. In most cases, people safely store these cards until the next time someone asks for it. But what do you do when you have overturned your whole house, and you still cannot find it?
Technological advancements over the years have made the process of getting a replacement card quite simple. Most states in the United States require only your state ID, driver’s license or passport to apply for one. These are documents which can be used to authenticate your identity. However, it is essential to note that there are limits for card replacement. In a year, you are allowed to replace it up to three times. The maximum limit in your lifetime is ten times. After this, the regulations for replacement become stricter. This is why you must always be very careful when handling your Social Security card. In the event of misplacement or loss, you can follow the tips below to replace your card:
- Online Application
Using the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) website, you can apply for a replacement Social Security card online. Creating an account on this site enables you to replace a lost card and analyze future benefits, as well as view the payment records for either disability, retirement or survivor benefits.
However, you should note that this platform does not allow you to make changes on profile details such as your name.
- Proper Documentation
Even before you start the application process, try to find out the documents needed. This will make the process easier and faster for you because there will be no delays associated with the lack of adequate documentation.
Please note that only certified copies and original documents are accepted; notarized copies and photocopies will be rejected. It is also important to note that the SSA only accepts valid documents, not receipts showing your application status. That’s because they will need these documents will be used to prove your age, citizenship, and identity.
- Mail or In-person Application?
If you are unable to apply for a replacement card online, the next best step is to apply through mail, or by physically visiting your state’s SSA office. The biggest downside of applying through the mail is that it increases the probability of you losing your original documents in transit. To counter this, make sure you work with trusted courier services and mail handlers such as FedEx or UPS Tracking.
- Applying Through Third-Party Agencies
There are many paid service providers in the United States who can apply for a replacement card on your behalf. Although the forms they provide from the SSA are free, they charge you for helping with your submission. These third-party agencies require you to provide them with all the necessary documents so that the process can go on as fluidly as possible.
It is important to understand that this does not guarantee a faster renewal process. It only acts as a resource for individuals who cannot accommodate this task in their extremely hectic schedule. Therefore, you are paying to get assistance with submission, not for the actual card application.
- Stolen Social Security Cards
For lost or stolen Social Security cards, it is recommended that you file a report with your local police station. This is important because stolen cards usually lead to stolen identities. Your Social Security number is connected to most of your financial and personal records, making it possible for you to be a victim of identity theft and monetary loss. In this case, contact the Federal Trade Commission for further assistance. However, be sure to take care of your card to shield yourself from such occurrences.