Losing your child’s social security card is very stressful. Especially if you have a deadline like applying for a passport for a vacation you cannot postpone. Luckily, the social security office has made the process of applying and receiving a new social security card relatively easy and straightforward.
To obtain a duplicate social security card for your child you must fill out an application, provide some necessary documentation, and you can have a replacement in only 10 to 14 business days. Here is all the information you need to navigate the social security duplicate card process:
Why is a Social Security Card Important?
To understand why a duplicate social security card is important, it is absolutely necessary to know what a social security card is and why you need one. A social security number is issued to all citizens of the United States of America. Here are some reasons why a social security number is so important:
- A social security number will most likely be needed by your doctor. This is to verify insurance information and for billing purposes. It also prevents insurance fraud.
- A social security number is essential when you get a job. Your employer will need this number in order to report your wages to the IRS. It also proves that you can legally be hired in the United States.
- A social security number is needed when you open a bank account or apply for a credit card. This will help your lenders know if your credit is worthy for a line of credit. It also verifies your identity.
How Do I Get a Duplicate Social Security Card for My Child?
The first thing you need to do to receive a duplicate card for your child is visit the social security website, www.socialsecurity.gov. On this website, you will find very clear instructions about how to apply and obtain the duplicate card.
The next thing you want to do is print on the application from the website. You want to make sure to fill this application out completely, otherwise it will be sent back to you or they will make you get out of line at the office to fix any errors.
What Documents Do I Need?
Next, you will want to gather up the necessary documentation. The government wants to make sure your child exists and that they are an actual citizen of the United States. Remember these documents need to be current and not expired. It is also good to know that the documents they request must be originals, not photocopies.
The first document they ask for is your child’s birth certificate. This piece of paper proves that your child was born and that they are a citizen of the United States. If you have misplaced your child’s birth certificate the process is much harder. You will have to go to the county your child was born and visit their Vital Records office to receive a new one. Or, some counties allow you to apply for a new birth certificate online. The cost to receive a birth certificate is about 40 dollars depending on the state and country. If you absolutely cannot get a birth certificate in time, be sure to ask the social security office if they will accept a record of birth. In rare circumstances, they may.
The next documents you need proves that your child has existed after birth. An example of this is a medical record. This proves that your child was in fact treated medically and therefore is still alive.
A religious record may also be used for this documentation. You may also use a school or daycare record. It is important to note that these documents need your child’s name, your name as the parent, and also a date of birth. Bonus if these documents have your child’s photograph. An even better document is a current US passport.
What if My Child Was Adopted?
If your child was adopted you will want to make sure you provide the adoption decree. This allows the social security office to see that your child is legally yours.
How Do I Prove My Identity?
In order to get your child a duplicate social security card you must prove your identity as their parent. A current driver’s license should usually suffice for this. However, if you do not have a government issued ID the office may take a school identification or even an employee identification.
If you are not a citizen of the United States the social security office needs your DHS documents such as a resident card or an employee authorization document.
What Do I Do With the Application and Documents?
You have two options. You may visit your local social security office and bring your completed application and documentation. This is a good option for those who wonder whether they have the right paperwork.
If you are pretty sure you have filled out the application correctly and have all the required documentation, you may send in your paperwork to the provided address on the website. You must send in originals of all your documents and the social security office will return these to you with a receipt upon completion. Your duplicate social security card should arrive in your mailbox in about 2 weeks.
How Many Duplicates May I Get?
The social security office only allows 3 replacement cards per US citizen in 10 years. This is why it is absolutely essential to keep your child’s social security card in a very safe place. However, if your child has a name change or another qualifying event, they may receive a duplicate without it counting against them.
What if My Child’s Social Security Card Was Stolen?
If your child’s card was stolen it is a good idea to contact the police. You will also want to tell the social security office so they can flag their account. This prevents people from using their social security card to open accounts or credit cards.
By following these guidelines, your child can have a duplicate social security card in no time. If you feel confused or overwhelmed, contact your local social security office for some guidance.