Last Updated: April 28, 2022

The primary use of your Social Security Card is to tell you your Social Security number. Social Security numbers are issued by the federal government to every citizen, and every person’s number is different. You will need your Social Security number to get a job, collect Social Security benefits, and access government services, but if you know the number, you do not need to show your Social Security card very often.

How do I get an original social security card?

From the Washington Appleseed Reentry Guide:

To get an original card, you will need to provide the SSA with a number of documents proving your identity, age, and citizenship or immigration status. You must provide original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. Depending on your situation, you may need to provide additional documents as well. The SSA cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). The SSA also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document you are using to prove your identity, age, or citizenship—they will need to see the original document. Note that the SSA may use one document for two purposes; for example, they may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

You will also need to fill out the Application for a Social Security card and bring or mail it, along with any required documents, to your local Social Security office.

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card.

You will also need proof of your legally changed named, for example: 

  • Marriage license;
  • Divorce decree;
  • Certificate of naturalization showing your new name; or
  • Court order approving your name change.

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