With the exception of winning lottery numbers, no other multiple-number combination carries more clout in life than your Social Security number.
Your Social Security number is required for many transactions and benefits, including:
- Financial dealings
- Loan applications
- Credit card applications
- Tax returns (federal and state)
- Driver license applications
- Recreational licenses (hunting and fishing)
- Voting registration
- Passport application
- Medicare allowances
With your Social Security number carrying so much importance, it's imperative you update any identity changes with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If, for instance, you change your name due to divorce, marriage, or creative whimsy, you need to contact the SSA immediately. Failing to notify the SSA could possibly delay future tax refunds and prevent your wages from being correctly assigned to your record, thus diminishing your Social Security benefits.
Required Name Change Documents
Depending on the circumstances behind your name change, present the SSA with one of the following documents:
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce decree
- Court order for a name change
- Certificate of Naturalization displaying your new name
If the SSA deems that the document does not provide sufficient enough proof, or if your name change occurred more than two years ago, additional proof of identity will be required.
Additional Documents for Marriage, Divorce, or Annulment
In addition to a marriage certificate or divorce decree you must provide an identification document. This can be a recent photo of yourself, or a document proving your former name.
Additional Documents for Adoption or Naturalization
In addition to a court order or Certificate of Naturalization, provide:
- One proof of identification with your former name. The SSA will accept an expired document.
- One proof of identification with your new name. This document MUST be valid.
Additional Documents for Citizenship
If you are a U.S. citizen born outside of the country and the SSA does not have you listed as a U.S. citizen, you will need to provide proof of your citizenship. Check with the SSA for acceptable documents.
If you do not have U.S. citizen status, be prepared to provide your current immigration documents.
New Social Security Card
After processing your information, the SSA will issue you a new Social Security card with your new name. Your Social Security number, however, will remain the same.