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Form SS-5 - Social Security Card Replacement Form

by Nathan Dennis

How to properly apply for a new Social Security Card through Form SS-5.

How to Get a New Social Security Card


Social Security Cards are a critical form of identification in the United States that every citizen (and work-authorized residents) needs to have. If you are going to legally earn a wage in this country, you will need a social security number—and those numbers are issued in the form of a card.

Beyond that, your social security number is used to identify you throughout your life. You’ll need it to open a bank account, apply for college, and get a credit card.

So, it behooves you to get a Social Security card as soon as you can. If you are the parent or legal guardian of a minor, you may apply for a social security card for your child (and you should as soon as possible)!

So what are some instances when you might need to get a Social Security card?

  • You’ve just been born (congratulations)

  • You need to replace your Social Security Card

  • You have never had a Social Security Card before and are a US citizen or are lawfully authorized to work in this country

  • You need to modify some information on your Social Security Card

Modify information? Yes! If you’ve legally changed your name (perhaps you got married and you took your spouse’s last name), you’ll need a new Social Security Card to go with that name change!

How to Complete the Application

Smallpdf has the SS-5 form available to download. Click the image below to get started!

Form S-55

Click the image above to view and download the S-55 form.

Note that the Social Security Administration requires the application to be completed in blue or black ink. Now’s not the time to break out the gel pens!

Also note that if the applicant is 12 years of age or older and has never received a Social Security Card, the application must be completed in person.

For those who do not complete the form in person, here are the steps.

Only use blue or black ink, ensure you print the document on 8.5’’ by 11’’ paper.

  1. Fill out the name to be shown on the card in the first row of box one. Ensure you fill out the First, Middle, and Last name. If different than the name at birth, fill out the full name at birth in the line below
  2. Fill out the person’s social security number (unless this is a first time card. In that case, leave blank).
  3. Fill out the place of birth. Do not abbreviate any locales, cities, states, or countries
  4. Fill out the date of birth. Use the whole year (e.g. 2010 not ‘10)
  5. Check the applicable citizenship box
  6. Voluntarily check the ethnicity box
  7. Voluntarily check the race box
  8. Check the applicable sex box
  9. Fill in the parent/mother’s name at birth along with her social security number
  10. Fill out the parent/father’s name at birth along with his social security number
  11. Answer whether the person from question one (the person applying for the card) has ever received a Social Security Card before (yes or no). If yes, go to question 12. If no, skip to question 14
  12. Fill out the name shown on the individuals most recent Social Security Card
  13. Enter any different date of birth if used on an earlier application for a card
  14. Write today’s date DD/MM/YYYY
  15. Fill in your daytime phone number
  16. Fill in your mailing address
  17. Sign that you have completed the form correctly
  18. Check the appropriate box for your relation to the person who is applying for the card (self, parent, guardian, other)

Great! You’ve filled the document out. Applause! Applause! Step 1 of 3 complete! When you’re ready, move on to gathering the necessary documentation.

What Are the Required Documents?


To apply for an original Social Security Card, you need at least two documents that prove: age, identity, citizenship or work-authorized status.

To apply for a replacement card, you need one document to prove identity.

To apply for a changed card, you need a document to prove identity, support the requested change, and establish a reason for the change.

Documents that establish identity:

  • US driver’s license

  • US, state-issued,non-driver identity card

  • US passport

Documents that establish citizenship:

  • US birth certificate

  • US passport

Documents that establish immigration status:

  • Current unexpired immigration documents provided to you by the Department of Homeland Security

  • If you have any issues or questions with the necessary documents, call the SSA at their toll-free number: 1-800-772-1213. If you need further assistance, you can also go to your local social security office!

How to Submit the Application


If you have never received a Social Security Card before (and you’re over 12), you need to complete the application in person at your local social security office. If you are requesting a replacement card, this step is not necessary. Instead, you simply can gather all the appropriate documentation and mail it to your local Social Security Office. All original documents that you mail will be returned upon the completion of your application for a social security card.

Of course, you are more than welcome to go in person even if you have the option to mail it. Maybe it’s that human touch element, but I like passing an afternoon meshed between the gears of bureaucracy. To each their own.

Once you receive your card—keep it secure! It’s tempting to keep it in your wallet (ok, I may have done that until told otherwise), but this is a bad idea. Keep it tucked away in a safe and secure area. Be cautious about who you give out your social security number to—especially from phone calls, texts, or emails that you did not initiate.

That’s all, folks! Congratulations, you’re all set to take out loans, fill out W-2s, and apply for colleges. You did it!

Nathan Dennis Guest Writer
Nathan Dennis
Guest Writer