We all know that we may be eligible for social security at some point in our lives, but how much do we know about our social security cards? For example, did you know that your social security number allows the government to keep track of your lifetime earnings? Or that these earnings dictate how much social security you can receive in the future?
For the above-mentioned reasons, it is important to keep the details on your social security card (including your name) up to date.
Filing government paperwork and providing multiple forms of identification can seem like a big mountain to climb. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to change your last name on your social security card if you follow the proper steps.
Read on to find out what you’ll need and how to provide the right information to smoothly update your social security card after changing your name.
When you’re applying to change your last name on your social security card, you will be required to provide documents to prove the legal change in name, prove your identity, and prove your U.S. citizenship. We’ll discuss your options for each.
It’s important to note that these documents have to be originals or certified copies. In other words, you cannot send a scanned copy of anything, even if those copies are notarized. Whether you file your application by mail or in person, you will get your documents back as soon as the change has been finalized!
Documents That Prove Your Legal Change in Name
There are four different documents that you can provide to prove that your name was legally changed, and which one you provide comes down to your reason for the change.
If you’ve changed your last name due to marriage, provide your marriage certificate. Alternatively, if you are changing your name after a divorce, provide your legal divorce decree.
If this change was made for personal or legal reasons, you may provide either your certificate of naturalization with your new name on it or a court order for the name change.
This one is pretty easy, and if you ever drive, fly, or make age-restricted purchases, you should already have one of the forms of identification that most states require.
To prove your identity, you may provide either your driver’s license, your U.S. passport, or your non-driver’s identification card. Keep in mind that whichever you document you choose, it cannot be expired or it won’t be accepted.
If you don’t have any of the above, there are a few other documents that may be accepted. These include a military identification card, a health insurance card, a school identification card, or an employer identification card.
Documents Proving Your U.S. Citizenship
We don’t often think about proving our citizenship, but in this case, it’s necessary. Why? Because social security benefits are restricted to U.S. citizens only, barring individuals who are authorized to work in the U.S. by the Department of Homeland Security.
If you were born a U.S. citizen, provide a copy of your birth certificate. If you were born abroad but with U.S. citizenship, you can use your U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad. Alternatively, your unexpired U.S. passport will also prove your U.S. citizenship in addition to your identification.
If you gained U.S. citizenship later in life, you may provide your Certificate of Naturalization or your Certificate of Citizenship.
Filling Out the Paperwork to Change Your Last Name on Your Social Security Card
In addition to these documents, there is a short form that you need to fill out to change your last name on your social security card. You can find it online or you can locate your local field office to fill it out in person. Remember that in order to file this form, you will need to have the above documentation on hand.
When you’re filling out this form for your social security name change (as opposed to getting an exact replacement), you will need to provide your full name given at birth as well as your new full name. You also need to provide your social security number. The number, itself, will not change after you’ve changed your name.
Next, provide your place of birth and birthdate. Select the box that matches your citizenship status, which in most cases will simply be, “U.S. Citizen.” Select your gender.
Finally, all applications will require the current date, your phone number, and your signature. In the final box, select “Self” if you are filling out your own form.
The following information is only required in certain circumstances, but it is important that you read through it to make sure that you have completed the forms properly. Note that the only item on this form that is never required is information about your race and ethnicity.
Potentially Required Information
If you are applying for a social security card for a child under 18, you will need to provide the names and social security numbers of the child’s parents.
If this is not your first ever social security card, provide the name that was listed on your most recent social security card. If you’ve never had one before, mark the correct box and skip this section.
Update Your Social Security Card with Ease
When you change your last name, this must be reflected in your legal documentation, including your social security card. It may seem like a hassle, but you’ll appreciate it in the future if you need to collect social security!
There are name change services such as UpdateMyName.com that can help you with this process by providing up to date, auto-filled forms that help make the name change process quick and easy.
However, regardless of what method you choose to use, it is important to update your name with the Social Security Adminstatraion once you have changed your last name!