How to Change Your Social Security Number

Friday 3 February 2012 - Filed under Info

Many people wonder whether they can change their Social Security Number (SSN). Well, the answer is yes but you need to follow a certain procedure to change your Social Security Number. It was in the year 1998, when Social Security Administration (SSA) made a significant change in their policies to allow people apply for a new Social Security Number. But there are certain conditions for that.  Not everyone can request for a new Social Security Number. In short, there are two options like stolen identity and domestic violence. If you feel that you qualify to apply for a Social Security Number change, apply immediately.


Apply in Person: For a new Social Security Number, you need to apply in person at a local social security office. Contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to find the social security office nearest to you. You can get the address of the office from SSA official website. Now make an appointment to be interviewed in person at an SSA field. Another way is to go directly to an SSA field office for the in-person interview. In case, the SSA representative is not aware of the current policy for assigning a new Social Security Number, you can ask the representative to check the Program Operations Manual System (POMS) chapter RM 00205. Here all the reasons for a new Social Security Number are mentioned. If the representative is still not convinced about your reasons for applying for a new Social Security Number, you can contact a supervisor or a field office manager and inform them about your situation. You need to explain them the need for a new number and a Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card).


Necessary Documents: You need to show them all important documents such as passport, birth certificate, driving license and so on. Take evidence of your age, identity, and the U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. If your previous Social Security Number is stolen, you must have appropriate prove that someone else is actually using your social security number to illegally apply for government benefits, obtain store credit accounts or credit cards in your name, obtain employment, pursue other illegal activities, hide income from lawful taxation, evade lawful prosecution for past crimes, harass or stalk you, file fraudulent income tax returns and so on. If you are a victim of harassment, then you must have all the evidence documenting the harassment/abuse. This can come from a variety of sources such as police reports, medical reports, restraining orders, letters from domestic violence programs or counselors or letters from friends, family or someone who has knowledge of the abuse. Also bear in mind only original documents are acceptable in this case. Photocopies and notarized copies of documents are not acceptable.


Name Change: The Social Security Administration recommends a legal name change prior to applying for a new social security number. You can get all the necessary information regarding how to change your name legally from your local court for more information. Once you have changed your name as the Department of Justice recommends, keep all the evidence identifying you by both your old and new names. It is important to note that you cannot apply for a name change for applying a new Social Security Number if you have an open divorce or child custody case, pending criminal charges, a criminal history or to someone who is suspected of changing their number to escape creditors. Also it is important to bear in mind that one you have changed your name, you will lose their current identification cards and will have difficulty in obtaining a new passport. However, changing your name will be of great help if you wish for extra personal protection.


Final Approval: Once you submit the necessary documents and give everything in written as why you need a new Social Security Number, you will have to wait for some time. Your application will be reviewed and cross checked with other authorities before it is approved. Once your application is approved, you will be assigned with a new Social Security Number.


Total Security: When you get a new Social Security Number, you don’t have to worry much about the security part. Social Security Administration opts for extra layer of security when a new Social Security Number has been assigned to you based on harassment, abuse, or life endangerment. No one can ask for the information over the phone. Unless a person comes to SSA office and provide reason and identity, no information will be provided to him or her. Your information will be kept confidential by SSA and your information will not be shared with any unauthorized third parties unless required by law to do so. However, Social Security Authority has got full right to provide information related to your new SSN to agencies and organizations listed under the “SSA’s Cross Referral and Disclosure Policies” section of this Information Alert.


Potential Impacts: When you apply for a new Social Security Number, you need to keep in mind the potential impact of doing so, such as you cannot get a passport or other federal documentation due to the lack of having a birth certificate under the new identity. You also have to suffer the loss of previous work history which can impact your career. Also there can be difficulties or delays in receiving Federal or State benefits, such as welfare, disability, SSI. You will also have to face difficulty when you need to prove past abuse if past medical records and court papers are in a different name.


Other Facts: Social Security Administration does not invalidate or destroy the original SSN when a new SSN is assigned to you. The original SSN and new SSN are cross-referred in the records of Social Security Administration to make sure that the individual gets credit for all earnings and to ensure the integrity of Social Security’s programs.


Conclusion: Getting a new Social Security number is only one part of a safety plan. Also it means losing your credit, employment, education and housing histories, which can make the process of self-sufficiency extremely difficult for you in future. So when you apply for a new Social Security number, go for a detailed safety plan, which includes making a legal name change, getting an unlisted telephone number, moving to another address, changing jobs.

2012-02-03  »  writer

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