How to Accomplish a Social Security Name change

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If you’re wondering how to accomplish a Social Security name change because you’ve recently gotten married or divorced, it’s a relatively simple but important task. Update your name change information with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as soon as possible. If your name is misspelled on the Social Security card, you should also request a correction.

To accomplish a Social Security name change basically requires you to first prove your identity. Requesting a name change on your Social Security card is free and takes only about 10 days from start to finish. You can access the required form on the Social Security website. Before filling out the application, review “How do I change or correct my name on a Social Security number card?

Social Security Name Change and Your Proof of Identity

Let Social Security know your birth name and the new name. If you’ve used other names in the past, provide these names along with your application.

  • Applying for a Social Security name change requires you to submit identity proof along with your SS-5 form application. You can access the SS-5 form here. If you’re a U.S. citizen, provide documents such as a state-issued ID card, driver license, or U.S. passport.
  • If you’re a legal alien or immigrant, submit your foreign passport (including arrival/departure stamps and/or Employment Authorization Document [EAD]) or permanent resident card. These are the documents you must have to work legally in the United States.
  • To support your name change request, provide additional original documentation. For instance, if you changed a last name because of marriage, divorce, or adoption, provide a copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree (with notation about the last name change), or court order. Your former name and new name should appear on this original document to verify the name change.
  • If your last name was changed two years before you requested a Social Security name change, you should include identity documents reflecting your former name. For example, submit a driver license or state-issued ID with the former name on it. In this instance, it’s okay if the proof of identity is expired. This satisfies the need to provide photo ID and a transition from the old name to new is accomplished

Social Security Name Change Application

Use this link to download a copy of the SS-5 application form (Application for a Social Security card) from a Social Security office or access via the Social Security My Account page/SSA website. You may fill in the information required on a computer or print and enter the required details by hand. If printing the form from a computer, use white paper and black ink. Fill in the form with black ink if possible to facilitate SSA’s ability to scan your application into their system.

It’s also possible to visit your local Social Security office. Use the Locator tool to find the Social Security field office nearest you. Bring your completed SS-5 form and original/certified copies of required documents. Make sure you have acceptable documents. SSA won’t accept photocopies.

Accomplish a Social Security Name Change Fast

If you take the necessary steps to provide SSA with the information and identity proofs required, you will have a replacement Social Security card in your hands in seven to ten days. The fastest way to accomplish the task of accomplishing a Social Security name change is to appear in person. There’s also less chance of losing your documents in the mail.

If you submit the replacement card request in person, ask the Social Security representative for a letter stating that you’ve requested a name change on your Social Security card. Provide a copy of the letter to your employer, bank, lenders, or credit card accounts. Notify the three credit reporting agencies of your name change to avoid possible identity issues in the future.