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The first Social Security cards were issued back in 1936 and they were very simple. They came with a stub that said: “Put away for safe keeping” so in case you lost your card you could get a new one using that small stub. Since that time 34 revisions have been made to the card, some to make it harder to copy or create fakes since the card has turned into a form of identification for getting other types of ID. Over the years there have been many new rules made that are meant to stop identity theft like making lamination of the card an unacceptable practice. Metal and plastic social security card reproductions are also invalid and neither are photocopies. Only an original, government-issued card or the receipt for a new card is valid at the current time. You are allowed to get up to 3 replacement cards per year directly from the Social Security Department of the United States. Here are the procedures for how to replace a lost social security card.

You Don’t Always Need The Card Itself, But

Most of the time, if you remember your social security number, that’s all you really need. It’s not very often that you’ll actually be asked for the card itself, however, if you don’t have one and you end up changing jobs, they can ask for it and if you can’t produce one, you’ll look like a liar, which is not good. When you do go in to get a new card, you’ll have to have some other forms of government issued ID in order to get one.

Some kind of drivers license or state issued ID card with a photo is generally required or a US passport will also work. Some people will also need to provide proof of US citizenship or right to work in the United States as well. If you’ve been granted legal non-citizen status you’ll then have to present a foreign birth certificate or passport instead. The agency won’t accept anything except original identification or certified copies by the agency that issued them.

To Save Time, It’s Best To Pre-Print The Form

You can go onto the website and find the Application for a Social Security Card, download it and print it out. Then fill in all the blanks, gather your ID and head to the local Social Security Office with all of your documents in order. This saves time and helps you know exactly which documents you need that are acceptable before you waste your time going into the office.

There are also certain states that share data with the Social Security Administration and the citizens that live in those states can apply for a new card online. You would first need to open a “my Social Security” account in order to apply. Then you would have to be a U.S. citizen over the age of 18 with a valid U.S. mailing address. You can’t have any name changes or other changes to the card and only some states are eligible. The address on your state ID or drivers license will need to match the mailing address on file with Social Security and also be identical to the one you use in your “my Social Security” account as well.

One thing that a lot of people forget is that they shouldn’t be carrying their Social Security card in the wallet with them at all times. It’s better to keep it carefully safe in your home where it can’t be found, lost, or stolen and safe from becoming wet or damaged as well. This may be surprising since many people have carried their cards for decades but there is almost no reason to have one on your person unless you are applying for a job, Social Security benefits, or some other type of identification that requires an original SS card.

If you have more questions the U.S. Government has a well made website to answer nearly any question you might have. You can call them on the phone or visit one of their field offices to get help during standard business hours. They are there to help you with whatever you need. Find more information at