Many of us put our belongings down at the oddest places and then forget to pick them up. This is how we lose our wallet, our cell phone, and our car keys. Sometimes we get them back; sometimes not. However, there are some things that carry far-reaching repercussions if they are misplaced or fall into the wrong hands — for example, our Social Security card.
Many people, against recommendation, carry their Social Security card with them when they go out in public. If it gets lost, it can be replaced; however, your Social Security card is one of your most important documents and shouldn’t be handled with neglect.
Why Do You Need a Social Security Card?
If you have lost your social security card, it is important to get it replaced quickly as it affects some of the most critical activities of your life:
- Driver’s License/State Identification Transaction: In Louisiana, a Social Security number is required at the Department of Motor Vehicles or Public Tag Agency. All applicants who are eligible for a Social Security number will have to give theirs when applying for a driver’s license. The number will not be displayed on the license but needs to be entered into DMV’s internal records. Any immigrant ineligible for a Social Security number will be asked to produce a letter from the SSA, specifying they “have not been issued” an SSN for a Class D or E driver’s license. All U.S. male citizens or immigrants aged 15 to 26 who are applying for a driver’s license will be required to give their Social Security Number, states the Military Selective Service Act. If they fail to do so, the agency can refuse to issue them a driver’s license.
- Obtaining employment: Your employer will use your SS card to report wages and to verify that you are eligible to work in the United States.
- Opening a bank account: A bank will use your SS card for various reasons, including verifying your identity in case you forget your account number and ensuring your creditworthiness.
- Obtaining college education: Colleges use SS cards to verify a student’s identity and ensure they are eligible to study in the United States.
- Going to the doctor: Doctors will use the SS card number to ensure your medical information is not used by an unauthorized person and for insurance and billing.
- Getting other government benefits.
How to Replace Your Social Security Card Online
In April, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reported it helped 1 million people (and counting) get their card replacements. If you are in Louisiana, here is how you can get a new Social Security card online.
Sign Up for MySocialSecurity Account
The first thing to do is to create your own free MySocialSecurity account on the SSA’s website. Note that you will only be allowed to use the online site to apply for a replacement card if you are a U.S. citizen age 18 or older and have a U.S. mailing address, a valid email address, and a Social Security number.
You also cannot request a name change to your new SS card and you need to have a state-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, from participating states.
Check if Your State Is a Participant
You can take a look at the eligible states here. Currently, the online SS card replacement service is not yet available if you have identification issued by a U.S. territory, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, or the Virgin Islands.
Personal Identification Document
To apply for the SS card replacement, you will also need one acceptable form of identification, preferably your birth certificate. However, the SSA will also accept a U.S. hospital record of your birth, a U.S. passport, a religious record that shows your date of birth and which was created before you turned five or an adoption decree that can prove the birth data was taken from your birth certificate.
If you don’t have any of these documents, the SSA may also accept other forms of documents, such as a U.S. military ID, Certificate of Naturalization, Employee ID, Medicaid card, certified medical record, or school ID card.
All of the above documents must either be original versions or copies certified by the issuing agency. The Social Service Agency will not accept photocopies, notarized documents, or receipts indicating you have applied for a valid form of identification.
Fill the Online SS Replacement Card Form
Once all your documents are at hand, fill out the downloadable replacement card from the SSA’s website. Make sure the form is dated and signed, then print it out and mail it or deliver it by hand to your local Social Security office.
Once your application is verified by the SAA, they will mail you a replacement Social Security card within two weeks to your home. Your SS card will have the same full name and Social Security number as your previous card.
The process of replacing your Social Security card is different if you were born outside of the U.S. and did not show proof of your citizenship, or if you are not a U.S. citizen at all. You will need to show additional documents that will prove your citizenship or identity or prove your status as a lawful immigrant. You can find the list of such documents on the SSA’s website.
Steps to Take if You Have Lost Your Social Security Card in Louisiana
Identity thieves can use a lost Social Security card to open bank accounts, steal sensitive data, including credit card and financial information, from mobile phone accounts, and file fake tax returns to generate big tax reimbursement, all under the victim’s name.
If you have lost your Social Security card, here are a few other steps you should take aside from getting it replaced:
- Place a fraud alert by calling the credit-reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion.
- Monitor your credit card statements and financial accounts for suspicious activity.
- Report your stolen card to the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Trade Commission.
- File a local police report.
How quickly you notice your Social Security card is missing and report it, matters a huge deal. Keep yourself protected from fraudulent activities by immediately notifying proper agencies and applying for a Social Security card as soon as possible. Your Social Security card number is what helps you get access to numerous important activities. Since it is a highly sensitive document, cardholders are discouraged from carrying it around, lest it falls into the wrong hands and leads to counterfeiting. If you cannot remember your Social Security number and absolutely must have the card, take out a photocopy or a printout. Your employer, your doctor, or your school cannot force you to show them the original thing. Keep your Social Security card in a safe or a drawer under lock and key. If you still somehow manage to lose it or damage it, do not procrastinate in replacing it.