The SS-5 is a form that US citizens fill to apply for a social security card. It’s filled to obtain a new card or to replace a lost or damaged card. It’s also filled if you want to correct errors in the current records or to update new information regarding change of name, as can happen if you get married.
You download the form online for free at www.socialsecurity.gov. There’s no provision to submit the form online; you can only download. After filling the form, you attach supporting documents showing proof of age, and citizenship and mail it to your local Social Security offices. You can also opt to personally deliver the completed form.
Remember that only original supporting documents are accepted, never photocopies or notarized ones. It usually takes two weeks after applying to get your SS card.
Situations that may warrant filing the SS-5 form for a new or replacement Social Security card
• If your parents hadn’t applied a Social Security number for you
You will need to prove that you don’t hold an SS number, and your Social Security Administration offices will interview you in person. Once they clear you, you will then fill the SS-5 form and submit it to their offices.
• If your card is lost or damaged
The Social Security Administration will replace your lost or damaged card for a maximum number of three times a year. In a lifetime the maximum you can replace is ten time. In each case, you will need to fill the SS-5 form.
• After a change of name
Your name may change on getting married or after a divorce. Because you need the new name to reflect in the Social Security records, it would be necessary to fill the SS-5 form to request a new card with your new name. You will be required to provide your original marriage certificate or divorce papers alongside the completed form.
• Due to change of immigration status
If your citizenship changes from being a legal residence to become a citizen of the US you will need to apply for a Social Security card.
• To correct a spelling error in a name or other detail
Because there is no provision for this in the form, you would need to attach a note detailing the error you want to be corrected. You will still follow the same guidelines to apply including attaching relevant supporting documents.
• Applying for a dependent
You can apply for your own as well as an adopted child. The SS-form is still the same, but you will need papers proving the child is yours. A child of any age including a newly born is eligible. In fact, you should apply Social Security for your child as soon as early as possible.
It’s advisable to be accurate when filling the SS- form because you are limited as to how many times you can fill them in a lifetime. And you don’t want to exhaust these chances.