Your Social Security Card

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Have you looked at your social security card lately?

In these days of rampant identity theft, you’ve probably tucked your card away in a safe place. But there are occasions, like a new job, when you have to pull it from hiding. If you’re expecting to have to show your card, save yourself some trouble by checking beforehand whether it needs corrections or is dog-eared and illegible.

For instance, you may need to update your card due to a name change. That requires documentation. Before you head to the local Social Security office, gather records with your former name, such as a marriage license, divorce or annulment decree or a court order formalizing a name change.

You’ll also need identifying information that shows your current name. You can present a photo ID or your driver’s license, but you may have to supply additional paperwork if more than two years have passed since you changed your name.

An incorrect birth date is another reason to contact Social Security. The agency will amend its records only after the office that issued your birth certificate verifies the corrected date.

What if your card is damaged or destroyed? As a US citizen, you can get a replacement by filling out an application and showing either a driver’s license, a state issued ID, or a US passport. If none of these are available, secondary proof of identity may be accepted. Examples include ID cards from your school, employer, health insurance or the US military.

All documents must be originals or certified to be original by the issuing agency. Photocopies and notarized versions are not acceptable.

Note: In 2006, Top Drawer Ink published two articles about Social Security: The History of Social Security and Another Side of Social Security.

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