How to Replace (and Store) Crucial Documents
How to Get a New Social Security CardWhy you need it: To apply for a job or a driver’s license; to register for college classes; possibly to apply for insurance or Medicaid. “Usually your Social Security number alone will suffice these days,” says Jane Zanca, a senior public-affairs specialist at the Social Security Administration, but some places may still want to see the original card as assurance that the number is legitimate.
Where to get a new one: At your local Social Security office. (Click on socialsecurity.gov to find locations; there are about 1,300 offices around the nation.) You can also download the application form from the site. While you can mail in your request and supporting documents, Zanca warns against it, citing concerns about stolen mail and identity theft.
What you need to get it: A completed one-page application, as well as one original identifying document, such as your driver’s license, passport, or marriage or divorce record. If you were born outside the United States, you may need to show proof of citizenship or lawful alien status. Photocopies are not accepted. There is no charge for replacement cards.
How long it takes: If you go to your local Social Security office in person, it could take as little as five minutes to process your request. Your card will be mailed to you within two weeks. If you can’t wait for the replacement, the Social Security Administration can give you a printout on its letterhead that verifies your number, says Zanca.
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