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What To Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card
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What to Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card

Since most people don't carry around their social security card with them (nor should you!), losing it usually just means that it was misplaced around the house somewhere, or it got lost when moving to a new home. Luckily, the process for replacing your card is quite painless. So, what do you do if you lose your social security card?

First, you need to file form SS-5 from the Social Security Department. This form is fairly straight-forward, asking only for basic information such as your name, birthdate, place of birth, citizenship, mother's maiden name, etc. The form has 4 pages of legalese that you'll want to read through just to make sure that you fit all of the guidelines. There are some restrictions on age, citizenship status, etc.

Next, you will need to provide at least 2 forms of identification when sending in your SS-5 form. This is to help verify that you are who you say you are. Ideally, these would be copies of your non-expired passport and driver's license or state identification card. However, in the unfortunate situation that you've lost these as well and cannot obtain new ones soon, you'll need to provide other documents. The form instructions have a full list of what documents are acceptable.

If you are a U.S. Citizen, you'll need to provide either a copy of your passport or birth certificate. If not, you'll need copies of the immigration papers you used to enter the country. If you have trouble obtaining all of these documents, you will need to contact the office directly at 1-800-772-1213. Children under the age of 12 need to apply in person if they have never received a social security card previously.

There are certain limitations and restrictions that change occasionally, so refer to the SS-5 form instructions for further details.

Lastly, you should be aware that the potential for identity theft increases if someone has somehow obtained your social security card. With access to this card, a criminal could potentially open new lines of credit, apply for a job, or receive medical treatment while pretending to be you. This is potentially a financial disaster in the making, so if you have any reason to suspect that this is occurring, you need to contact your local police department and the Federal Trade Commission immediately.

Luckily in most cases, a lost social security card is simply due to misplacement. While identity theft is possible, there's no reason to automatically assume that it's occurring. Just stay mindful of your financial statements,look at your credit report, and be sure to take swift action if anything looks out of place or suspicious.

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