Importance of Changing Social Security Information

It is imperative that you alert the Social Security Administration via when you change your name. In order to administrate your benefits, the SSA requires that the information on your card matches that on all your basic legal documents. The name and number on your social security card enable the system to track all your lifetime earnings and calculate your retirement. The SSA also uses the information on file to track the benefits you are entitled to, without the right name all this is not possible. If you have already changed your name with the SSA you are already familiar with the process but if you have not here are some important things you need to know.

What you need to know

The most common reasons for requesting a name change with the SSA is because of a marriage and adoption although some people decide to legally change their name for whatever reason. There may also be an error on the social security card forcing the individual to get it corrected. In any case, you first need to legally change your names with the courts in your state before you move to requesting for a name change with the SSA. The court will issue you with documents that prove that you have legally changed your name. These might include a marriage certificate, a divorce decree, a court order name change statement or a naturalization certificate with a new name. It is free to change your name with the SSA. You can not apply for a name change online even if you can apply for a new Social Security card online in your state. You have to visit the local Social Security office or mail your documents.

The process

Your Social Security number will not change when you apply for a name change. If the application is approved you will be issued a new Social Security card with the corrected name but with the same Social Security number, you have been using. It is a relatively simple process.

Fill out and print the Application for a Social Security Cards. It is a simple questionnaire that records your basic information like place of birth, Social Security number and contact information as well as the name that you are want to start using. Alternatively, you can pick up a copy of the form at the local Social Security office in your area.

Make sure you have all the original documents showing that you have legally changed your name. The documents we mentioned earlier are important to get the name change request approved. If you are going back to your birth name after a divorce you will need to provide the divorce decree. If your name change is not due to marriage or divorce you will have to provide a court order that approves the name change.

The SSA will require you to show documents to prove your identity and citizenship if you have changed your name more than two years past or if the name change document does not have enough information to identify you from their records. In this case, you will want to present a state-issued ID like a drivers license or a passport that was issued in your previous name.

Submit the application and all the supporting documents to the SSA. You can use the SSA’s Social Security Office Locator to identify their office nearest to you. You do not need to have an appointment to apply for a name change in person. If you mail your application you will receive your original documents back. It will take around 10 days to receive your new card.

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