How Do I Make a Social Security Card Name Change?

Proper identification will be required to make a social security name change.
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  • Written By: M.R. Anglin
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2014
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In cases of marriage, divorce, or other circumstances involving a legal name change, a person will need to make a Social Security card name change. Changing the name on a Social Security card can help to ensure that work earnings are properly reported and tax returns are paid in a timely manner. In order to make a Social Security card name change, a person should fill out the appropriate application, which can be obtained online or from a local Social Security office. Changing the name on a Social Security card will not change the person's Social Security number, but only the name under which that number appears.

Along with the application, the person making a social security card name change may also need to provide officials with the proper identification, as well as proof of citizenship or immigration status. If the Social Security office does not have a record of an applicant’s citizenship, he should provide documentation proving that fact. If the applicant is not a citizen, the office may require proof of immigration status. An example of proper documentation include a naturalization certificate. For those who are not citizens, the office may require documents such as a foreign passport and immigration documents.


A person may also need to establish his identity and the fact that his name has changed in order to make a Social Security card name change. To do this, he usually has to provide a document that proves that his name has changed. For example, a woman may be able use a marriage certificate. In cases where the document is more than two years old — four years for children — or where documents do not completely establish identity, another form of identification may be required. All documents used to establish identity, name change, or immigration status should be originals or official copies authorized by the person in charge of keeping the original document.

In many cases, applications and detailed instructions for which documents are necessary can be found online and printed out at home, and then mailed or taken in person to the local Social Security office. The address, telephone number, and hours of operation for local social security offices also can be found online or in a telephone book. In some areas, including Brooklyn, N.Y.; Queens, N.Y.; Orlando, Fla.; Sacramento County, Calif.; Phoenix, Ariz. (Maricopa County and Apache Junction Area); Las Vegas, Nev.; or Greater Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minn., the application and documents must be mailed to or taken in person to a Social Security Card Center, rather than Social Security office.


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