How to Replace a Social Security Card for a Child

How to Replace a Social Security Card for a Child

Replacing a child’s Social Security card is simple, you just need to gather some basic information first.

Knowing your child or grandchild's Social Security Number (SSN) is crucial for a number of reasons, and having a Social Security card as proof of identification can be helpful in a variety of situations.

For example, you'll need your child or grandchild's SSN to open a bank account for them, get them medical coverage, apply for government services, claim them as a dependent on your tax return, and other reasons. Having their Social Security card can make this easier, and in some cases, it may be required to verify their information.

If the child's card was lost or stolen, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a process to request a new card. A replacement card is free, and you can get three replacement cards in one year and 10 during a lifetime. Here are the three steps for requesting one.

Step 1: Gather information and documents

The first step in the process is to gather information and documentation you'll need for the application. This is both for the child and for you if you're filling out the application on the child's behalf. Gather original documents that show proof of:

Child's citizenship (if citizenship has not already been established)

  • U.S. birth certificate
  • U.S. passport

Child's identity(showing name, identifying information, and preferably a recent photograph)

  • Adoption decree
  • Doctor, clinic, or hospital record
  • Religious record
  • School daycare center record
  • School identification card
  • State issued non-driver identification card

Your identity(not expired, showing your name, identifying information, and preferably a recent photograph)

  • U.S. driver's license
  • U.S. passport
  • State-issued non-driver identification card

If you don't have any of those documents, or can't get a replacement within 10 days, you may be able to show other documents such as:

  • Employee identification card
  • Health insurance card
  • School identification card
  • U.S. military ID card

You may also be asked to provide evidence of your custody or relationship to the child, and authority to sign the application on the behalf of the child. If the SSA needs more than what you provide, they will reach out to you with additional needs and next steps.

All documents provided must be original, or copies certified by the agency that issued them. Do not send photocopies or notarized copies.

Also, don't mail original primary documents, such as driver's licenses and passports. You can either mail secondary evidence of identity and less sensitive materials, or choose a different option for submission such as drop boxes. Call your local Social Security office for more information on options available.

Step 2: Complete application

Once you've gathered the information and documents you need, the next step is to complete an Application for a Social Security card. You cannot request a replacement Social Security card for a child online, so you must fill out a paper application and mail it in.

If the child is younger than 18, you can fill out and sign the form on their behalf.

The paper application has detailed instructions on how to fill it out properly. Information you must provide includes:

  • The name to be shown on the card
  • SSN assigned to the person for whom the card is for
  • Place and date of birth
  • Citizenship
  • Ethnicity and race
  • Sex
  • Parent/mother's name and SSN
  • Parent/father's name and SSN
  • Mailing address
  • Contact information

If you have any questions about the form or need help, you can visit the SSA's website or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Step 3: Submit application and receive new card

When you're ready, you can take or mail the signed application and documents to your local Social Security office, which you can find using the SSA's online Office Locator. You can also ask the office about additional submission options.

Once the SSA office receives your application and documents, they will review and process everything. After all documents are verified, they will mail the child's card. Expect to receive the card within two weeks from the date on the receipt. They will also return all of your documents.

Additional Resources

Kolt Legette
Since 2003, Kolt Legette has helped clients navigate the often-confusing world of insurance. His number one goal is protecting the medical and financial wellbeing of every person he speaks with, whether they choose to buy insurance or not. Kolt loves representing the best brands in medical insurance as it allows him to provide side-by-side comparisons for his clients. This allows the client to decide which company works best for them. By putting the needs of the client above everything else, Kolt helps real people find affordable health insurance solutions for their most pressing healthcare needs. With his belief that peace of mind is priceless, Kolt's goal in every interaction is to make sure each person he speaks to leaves with the peace of mind they rightfully deserve.


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