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Why Doesn’t My Social Security Number Work

How To Request A New Social Security Card

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You can request a replacement Social Security card online with the SSA by creating or logging in to your account. To be eligible for a new card, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen who is at least 18 years old and have a U.S. mailing address
  • Not be requesting any changes to your card, such as a name change
  • Have a state-issued driver’s license or ID card

Online replacement is not available in Alaska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma or West Virginia at this time.

You can also call your local SSA office or for information on how to replace your card. If you go to your local office, the SSA may be able to issue you temporary documentation verifying your Social Security number, which you can keep on hand while you wait for your new card to come in the mail.

Once you have requested a replacement card, you may be able to submit a copy of the temporary document to Experian while you wait for the card to arrive.

You Can Request Your Card Online Today

Sign in or create an account to submit your request

You can replace your card online and receive it in 14 days. You can also use your account to check the status of your request and manage other benefits you receive from us.

Trouble signing in?

Start the application online and visit your local SSA office for additional guidance for completing your application.

Prefer to talk to someone?

Contact your local SSA office.

You can start your Social Security number card application online. Once you’ve submitted your request, visit your local SSA office for additional guidance for completing your application. You will need to give us some of the information you provided again.

Do You Really Need To See The Card

Employers often ask to see an employees Social Security card. The Internal Revenue ServicesPublication 15 , Employers Tax Guide, states, You should ask your employee toshow you his or her social security card. The employee may show the card if it is available. But,do you really need to see the card? While not required, SSA provides a service for employers to verify aname and SSN for wage reporting purposes when you want additional assurance of an employees correctname and SSN.

Since 1936, Social Security has issued over 30 different versions of the Social Security number cardwhich makes it difficult to recognize a valid card. Sometimes when you ask an employee to show you theircard the card is not available. In either case, you dont have to send them to a local Social Securityoffice. Consider using the free Social Security Number Verification Service which allows registeredemployers to quickly verify whether a persons name and SSN match Social Securitys records. Itsaves you and the employee time.

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Foreign Workers And Social Security Numbers

  • Highest rating: 3
  • Summary: You need an SSN to get a job, collect Social Security benefits, and receive some other government services. If youre temporarily in the United States to work,.

See Details

  • Highest rating: 5
  • Summary: Social Security offers three options to verify Social Security numbers: The Social Security Number Verification Service This free online service allows

See Details

How Can I Detect A Phishing Email Pretending To Be Social Security

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  • Most emails from Social Security will come from a .gov” email address. If an email address does not end in .gov, use caution before opening attachments or clicking on pictures or links in the email. Currently, Social Security sends emails from ,, , , and echosign.com.
    • In a few instances, we use marketing firms to raise awareness of Social Securitys online services, and this includes creating a my Social Security account. We allow these firms to send email directly to individuals. Any links you find within these emails should always point to a .gov/ web address.
  • Links, logos, or pictures in the body of an official Social Security email will always direct you to an official Social Security website. Rather than relying on the way a link looks, please follow these steps to confirm a links authenticity:
    • To verify the web address of a link or picture, hover over it with your mouse until a text box appears with the web address. This is the actual address you will be directed to and it should always include .gov/. A forward slash should always follow the .gov domain.
    • Example – https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/
    • Links to the official Social Security website will always begin with or .
  • Below are examples of fraudulent websites pretending to direct you to Social Security. Notice the location of the forward slash.
    • https://www.socialsecurity.gov.gmx.de/
    • http://www.socialsecurity.gov.bx.co.rx/setup

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What To Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card

Your Social Security number is valuable to identity thieves because its linked to your identity. Learn what to do if your Social Security card is stolen or lost and how to keep your personal information safe.

Reading time: 5 minutes


  • Your Social Security number can be valuable information for identity thieves
  • Consider placing a security freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports if your Social Security card is lost
  • If you know your Social Security number has been stolen, there are some additional steps you can take

Your Social Security number is a valuable piece of information to identity thieves. Its a key element of your identity and is also linked to taxes and credit information. And except in limited circumstances, it cant be changed. Thats why its so worrisome to have your card lost or stolen.

Here are some steps to take for a lost or stolen Social Security card:

1. Consider placing a fraud alert or a security freeze on your credit reports or locking them. With an initial fraud alert, potential lenders and creditors are encouraged to take additional steps to verify your identity, such as contacting you by phone, before extending new credit. A fraud alert lasts for one year and can be renewed. Fraud alerts are free. Contact one of the three nationwide credit bureaus Equifax, Experian or TransUnion to request a fraud alert, and that bureau will notify the other two.

Workers With Too Few Social Security Credits

Can you get Social Security if you never worked? No, because a minimum requirement to collect Social Security retirement benefits is performing enough work. The Social Security Administration defines enough work as earning 40 Social Security credits. More specifically, in 2022, an individual receives one credit for each $1,510 in income, and they can earn a maximum of four credits per year. So, 40 credits are roughly equal to 10 years of work.

If you earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, then youll need 208.28 hours of work to receive one . By working just 17 hours a week for 50 weeks at this wage , you can earn the maximum credits per year. That means even those who work part-time so they can attend school or care for a childor those who work part-time because they cannot find full-time workcan amass Social Security credits without too much trouble.

Earned credits are accrued over a person’s lifetime and never expire, so anyone who has left the workforce with close to 40 credits might consider going back and doing the minimum additional work they need to qualify. You can check the number of credits you have so far by opening a Social Security account on the Social Security website and downloading your Social Security statement.

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Designing The Social Security Card

Even at the inception of the program, the Social Security Board understood that individuals would need to have a “token” that would provide a record of the number that had been assigned to them. This token would help employers accurately report an individual’s earnings under the program.

The Board first considered a small card similar to a credit union or trade union card, but some objected that it was too flimsy. Alternatively, a ¾ x 2 inch metal card was proposed by a manufacturer of such cards. It was estimated that it would have taken 250 tons of metal for initial registration. The arguments in favor of the metal card were its permanence, accuracy , and economy . Still, in early June 1936, the Board decided to use a small paper card .

In October 1936, the Social Security Board selected a design submitted by Frederick E. Happel, an artist and photo engraver from Albany, NY, for the original Social Security card, for which Happel was paid $60.5 The Board placed an initial order for 26 million cards. In late 1937, a second version was adopted, and a version just for replacement cards was adopted in 1938 . Since 1976, the design of original and replacement Social Security cards has been the same. In all, over 50 designs have been used from 1936 to 2008. All versions remain valid since it would be cost-prohibitive to replace all cards previously issued.

Why Doesnt The Social Security Administration Answer The Phone

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If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you have tried to call a Social Security field office, it is likely that you have encountered one of the following scenarios:

  • Your were on hold for a very long time and then you were disconnected either before you had a chance to speak to a representative or while you were talking to a representative OR
  • You were on hold for a long time, you were transferred to another voice mail menu which sounded promising and then the call just ended, no music, no nothing OR
  • You called the field office but somehow your call was transferred to someone who was answering the 1-800 national customer service number and the agent could not assist you with the issue at the field office.
  • Calling the Social Security Administration and reaching a representative has always been difficult but it has become more so during the pandemic. Why is that? They are not generally seeing people in person at the field offices so they should have the resources to answer the phones? Yet, this is not happening. Apparently Congressional representatives asked similar questions to SSAs Office of the Inspector General . The OIG studied the SSAs telephone service and prepared a report.

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    Registering The Nation’s Employers And Employees

    Although issuing SSNs is still a large workload for SSA, one rarely thinks about the major undertaking it was to register workers for the first SSNs. Initial estimates were that 22 million SSNs would be issued immediately, with 50 million ultimately to be issued . In fact, 35 million SSNs were issued in the first 8 months of the registration effort. The Social Security Board estimated it would also need to assign identifying numbers to 3.5 million employers during this same time .

    Assigning responsibility for the vast registration process was a real problem. Debate shifted back and forth over whether the Board’s Bureau of Old-Age Benefits could handle the work. The Board first approached the USES about assuming the registration workload, but in early May 1936 USES declined because President Roosevelt was hoping for an upswing in industrial production that autumn, and USES wanted its personnel to concentrate on its job placement service. The Census Bureau also declined, citing legal restrictions on the disclosure of its information to other agencies and confidentiality promises to the public that census information would be used for statistical purposes only .

    The registration process was largely directed by the local postmasters. The first task for the postmen was to make up lists of employers on their routes. Their effort resulted in a list of 2.4 million employers .

    Applying For An Ssn Today

    Just as it was in 1936, today a person must complete an application to obtain an original or replacement SSN or to change the information in SSA’s Numident records. There are a number of ways to initiate the application process.

    The paper form a person completes to apply for an original SSN or a replacement card or to make changes to SSA’s Numident record is still the SS-5. The SS-5 application is available online14 or in any SSA field office. The application and required evidence can be taken or mailed to any Social Security office for processing. An in-person interview is required if the applicant is age 12 or older and is applying for an original SSN. The Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Manila also accepts SS-5 applications for an original SSN or a replacement card, as do all U.S. Foreign Service posts and all military posts outside the United States. SSA employees key the SS-5 application data and evidence into the SSA computer system, which uses the information to create or update the Numident. The signed SS-5 application is retained for a short period in the field office, and then is sent to a records center in Pennsylvania for microfilming. Once microfilmed, the original SS-5 is destroyed.15

    The information currently requested on the SS-5 is:

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    When Applying For A Federal Loan

    The government will use your Social Security number to make sure youre eligible when you apply for a federal loan, such as a federal student loan. For example, to qualify for federal student loans, you must not be in default on another federal loan, you must have eligible citizenship or visitor status, and most male applicants must have registered with the Selective Service.

    How Do I Get The Credit Limit Increased

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    For Travel Cards : email your supervisor and copy Amanda Gleasman, Accounts Payable Specialist with the requested limit amount and the period for which the increase is needed. Once approved by your supervisor, your temporary increase request will be processed.

    For Purchase Cards : email your supervisor and copy Jennifer Mayer, Associate Director of Procurement with the requested limit amount and the period for which the increase is needed. Once approved by your supervisor, and Jennifer, your increase request will be processed.

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    How Do I Change Social Security To Direct Deposit

    If you already receive Social Security benefits, you can start or update your direct deposit by visiting your online my Social Security account. Simply log in, navigate to your profile page, and input your direct deposit information. You can set this change to take effect immediately or at a specified later date. If you receive SSI benefits, don’t have a U.S. mailing address, or otherwise aren’t able to make this change online, you can contact your bank or call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.

    Enhancing The Social Security Card

    In addition to developing verification systems to allow authorized users to determine if SSN information matches SSA data, SSA has also taken steps to help guard against fraudulent Social Security cards. Because an SSN is needed for work and has been adopted for many other uses, a market for counterfeit Social Security cards has developed.

    SSA has taken and continues to take steps to strengthen the integrity of the Social Security card and guard against its misuse. One of the first steps was to distinguish whether cards were valid for work purposes. In 1974, SSA began assigning SSNs for nonwork purposes when such use of an SSN was authorized by law. Initially, the nonwork cards looked the same as cards issued to citizens and aliens authorized to work. In May 1982, SSA began annotating cards issued for nonwork purposes with the legend “not valid for employment.”

    In 1988, to prevent photocopy counterfeits, a security feature that displays as “void” when photocopied was added. Also in 1988, legislation increased the monetary penalties for SSN violations. In September 1992, SSA began to annotate Social Security cards for aliens with temporary work authorization “valid for work only with INS authorization.”

    In September 1997, SSA published its findings in the Report to Congress on Options for Enhancing the Social Security Card. The seven options that SSA developed included:

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    Protect Your Personal Id And Confidential Information

    Your Social Security number is a lifelong number that is yours alone. Do not allow others to use your number. Record your number in a safe place in case your card is lost or stolen. Protect both your card and your number to prevent misuse.

    If you have any questions or lose your card, please call the Social Security Administrations toll-free number, 1.800.772.1213, or visit their website. You can also call InterExchange for guidance at .

    Why Is My Credit Card Being Declined

    How Social Security Works
    • You can check your card activity at any time. Log into KEY2PURCHASE, then select bank, cards, recent activity. Select your card, recent authorizations find the declined transaction, highlight, and select view status details to determine why declined. Examples of declines:
    • Single transaction limit .
  • Purchase cards are set up with a standard single transaction limit of $1500 unless a larger amount has been approved.
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    What If My Payment Doesn’t Come

    The Social Security Administration asks that you first contact your bank or financial institution if your direct deposit or debit card funds aren’t received on time. You should then call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office. The SSA asks that you wait three days before reaching out, however.

    The risk of your benefits being stolen is greatly reduced if you use the direct deposit option because the money is transmitted electronically and directly to your bank account.

    Actions To Take For Other Reasons

    For any other reasons, there are a couple of steps you should make.

    Firstly, if you noticed that you havent received your Social Security check when youre normally slated to do so, try waiting a few extra days for it to arrive.

    If your check doesnt arrive by then, you might want to call the SSA or your local office and find out why.

    The number for the SSA is 1-800-772-1213 and can be reached 8 am through 7 pm during business days.

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