A social security card and social security ss-5 is important as it provides access to social security programs and acts as a national identity card for US citizens and temporary workers. It also helps in tax filling and availing financial services. While one must be very careful to protect social security card from getting lost or stolen, social security administration (SSA) ensures that one can get a replacement card in case of the loss of the original one. It is advisable to report the loss of previous one to the police and SSA before applying for a replacement card.
The average time that takes to get a replacement card is around 10-14 business days. There are many factors that can decide the time taken to get a replacement card.
However, one must go through the following checklist irrespective of the mode of getting a replacement card-
1. See if the person applying for the replacement card is a US citizen or an immigrant, an adult or a child. There are different documents for the different class of applicants. If wrong documents are given, one might have to apply again.
2. If applying within the US, then one can use the form SS-5. If, outside the US, then one needs to use the form SS-5-FS.
3. See if the local SSA office is ready to issue a replacement card on the same day. Some are willing to issue a printout of the replacement card. This is valid and allows them to process documents manually while cardholder can use it like a normal social security card anywhere.
4. An identity card such as a US passport or a US driving license would be required. An employee card or a health card is valid too for non-US citizens.
5. One must provide a citizenship proof too. This can be done through a US passport or through an unexpired foreign passport for non-citizens. US passport can be used for identity verification too.
6. Once all these documents are secured, then one can apply through the desired mode. If applying through the local SSA office, then they might reject the application if documents are not sufficient. It is advisable to call them and explain them the purpose of your visit.
7. If they inform about the backlog of applications for replacement cards, then it is advisable to ask them about the estimated time. It can extend up to 6 weeks.
8. If social security number is required for employment or tax matters, then it is advisable to get a letter from them stating that replacement card has been applied for. However, this facility is not available online or through the mail.
9. If one chooses to apply online, then it would be advisable to carry original documents to the local SSA office and give them online application number. This would easily expedite the process by a few days. Most of the time is taken to manually verify the documents and showing original ones makes things easier for them.
10. One must be sure to track the application either online or offline. They might ask for additional documents at a later date, so one must be ready to visit the local SSA office again when necessary.