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What Is An SS-5 Form Why You Might Need One?

Filling out forms and applying for important documents is frustrating, but more often than not, a necessary task. Yes, even if it is just replacing a Social Security card. So can’t you just call someone and tell them you need a replacement? Unfortunately, it is not as easy as that. Like all government processes, you need to fill out a certain form, and as Americans, we sometimes wish the government would make things simpler. Can’t they just call a form, “form for a driver’s license” or in the case of a Social Security Card “form for social security card application.” No, the U.S. government makes things more difficult by giving every official form a number, and in the case of a social security card, the form is called an SS-5 form.

Replacing a Social Security Card

When do you need to get the SS-5 form? There are a couple of reasons why you would need to get this form and fill it out for the Social Security Department. These reasons are when you:

  • Are a new US resident and need a social security number

  • Need to replace your social security card

  • Are a new mother and did not receive a social security card for your newborn

Do not worry! These forms are available online and are easily available online from the SSA.gov website.

New US Residents

When you are born in another country and are a naturalized American citizen (born to an American citizen), or when you acquire US residency through your work or a family relationship, your immigration attorney will ask you to fill out an SS-5 form to get a new social security card. This form with other documents will get you a new SS card.

Losing documents can be very frustrating and their replacement can be even more so. This leads to the question of whether or not replacing your social security card is a priority or not. You might think this to be a lot of hassle, after all, you probably know your social security number by heart. You never use it and probably won’t need the physical card again in your lifetime right? Well, you are probably wrong. A lot of people think this. Then one day out of the blue, the bank may call, or they might freeze your account, until you can verify with documents that you are who you say you are. And guess what one of the required documents to verify who you are is your social security card. That’s when you know, replacing your social security card was a priority. Now, you can’t access your funds, not until, you get another SS card.

Another reason you might need a social security card is because of a job change. If you change jobs, get laid off, or your company decides to close, you will need a social security card. Every new employer asks for proof of identity and one of the documents asked for is a social security card.

A Child’s Social Security Card

Let’s say, for whatever reason you didn’t get your child’s social security card at the time of birth from the hospital. You had a home birth. Your child was born outside of the country or under special circumstances. In this case, you will need to fill out an SS-5 form for your child. As the guardian of an underaged child, you are responsible for getting your child’s social security card and number. When your child is of school age, he will be required to have his social security card.

Fill Out an SS-5 for A Deceased Family Member

When you find a family member that has passed away, you can request a copy of your ancestor’s Social Security Application. This a record that offers important genealogical information. The SS-5 offers the deceased person’s:

  • Full name

  • Last mailing address

  • Age

  • Date of birth

  • Place of birth

  • Parent’s names

  • Sex

  • Race

  • Signature

How to Apply for A Social Security Card

Whether applying for a SS card for the first time, renewing one, or requesting the SS information for a deceased relative, you will need to fill out the SS-5 form. You can find this form online or at your local Social Security office.

Print the form and fill out all the required information. You will also need a few other documents to prove your identity. You need at least two proofs of identification documents. These can be two of any of the following:

  • A state issued driver’s license

  • A non-driver identification card

  • US passport

  • US citizenship card

  • Birth certificate

Any document you send to the Social Security office needs to be an original or a certified copy issued by the agency. Notarized copies or photocopies are not accepted. These documents will be returned once the new card is issued.

The Only Extenuating Circumstance

The only time when you will not be asked for valid ID for the person is when you request Social Security information by filling out an SS-5 for a deceased person.

The Social Security Administration will allow for form SS-5 to anyone requesting the information under the Freedom Information Act or to anyone who has a release of information statement signed by the person to whom the number belonged.

However, the SSA is always protecting the privacy of living individuals and so has specific requirements for SS-5 information involving deceased. The SSA does not provide information about a person who is under 120 years old unless you can provide proof of death.

Bottom Line

The replacement of a Social Security card is not as easy as just going to the SSA office and saying, “This is my number, give me a replacement card. You need to fill out form SS-5 and you must have acceptable proof of identity. Even getting the SSA information for a person who is deceased requires and SS-5 process. However, you can print the form out online, gather the appropriate documents, mail all the information in and wait for the SSA to mail you a new card or information. In some cases, you can fill out the form and obtain the replacement online, or you can get all the information and take it to your nearest social security office.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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