Are you concerned about the security of your Social Security number? Recent reports suggest that on the dark web, cybercriminals are selling people’s Social Security numbers for as little as two dollars each, allowing them to wreak havoc on your financial life. It’s an alarming situation, but there is a way to protect yourself. In some cases, you may be eligible to get a new Social Security card from the government.
Who Qualifies for a New Social Security Number?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not issue new Social Security numbers to just anyone. You must meet specific criteria to be eligible for a replacement number. Here are the situations in which you may qualify for a new Social Security number:
- Identity Theft Victim: If you’ve fallen victim to identity theft and continue to suffer from the consequences of using your original Social Security number, you may qualify for a new one.
- Harassment, Abuse, or Life Endangerment: If you are facing harassment, abuse, or life-threatening situations, such as domestic violence, because of your current Social Security number, you might be eligible for a replacement.
- Sequential Number Issues: Problems can arise when Social Security numbers are sequentially assigned to members of the same family. If more than one person is mistakenly assigned or is using the same number, you may be eligible for a new number.
- Religious or Cultural Objection: If you have a legitimate religious or cultural objection to your current Social Security number, you can apply for a new one.
How to Apply for a New Social Security Number
If you fall into one of the categories mentioned above, here’s how you can apply for a new Social Security number:
- Contact the Social Security Administration: Start by reaching out to the Social Security Administration to schedule an appointment. You can do this by calling 800-772-1213. It’s worth noting that the agency recommends calling during specific times to experience shorter wait times, which are usually on Wednesday through Friday, later in the day.
- Fill Out Form SS-5: The next step is to complete Form SS-5, which is required for a new Social Security card application. The form is straightforward, consisting of just one page, making the process relatively simple.
- Provide a Statement: Along with the form, you’ll need to submit a statement explaining the reasons for needing a new Social Security number. Ensure you provide current, credible third-party evidence supporting your claim, such as proof of identity theft, harassment, or other relevant circumstances.
- Prove Your Identity: You must also prove your identity by providing original documents, such as your birth certificate or passport. These documents will help establish your identity and support your request for a new number.
It’s important to note that if you qualify for a new Social Security number, the SSA will not eliminate your old one. Instead, they will cross-reference your new number with the original one to ensure you don’t miss out on any credits or benefits you earned with either number.
The threat to your Social Security number’s security is real, with cybercriminals selling these valuable pieces of information for just a couple of dollars on the dark web. However, there is hope for those who have fallen victim to identity theft, harassment, or other life-endangering situations, or who have legitimate religious or cultural objections to their current numbers. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a process for obtaining a new Social Security number, offering a fresh start for those in need.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does it cost to get a new Social Security number?
There is no fee for obtaining a new Social Security number through the Social Security Administration (SSA). It’s a free service provided to individuals who qualify.
How long does it take to get a new Social Security number?
The processing time can vary, but it typically takes a few weeks to receive your new Social Security card after your application is approved. Be sure to plan ahead if you need your new number for specific purposes.
Can I get a new Social Security number if I’ve lost my card?
If you’ve lost your Social Security card but do not meet the specific criteria mentioned earlier (e.g., identity theft, or harassment), you can apply for a replacement card with the same number. In most cases, you can do this online through the SSA’s website.
Can I change my Social Security number for reasons other than those mentioned in the article?
Changing your Social Security number for reasons other than identity theft, harassment, or the other criteria listed is generally not allowed. The SSA has strict guidelines for issuing new numbers, and it’s usually reserved for situations that directly impact your safety or well-being.
Will changing my Social Security number affect my credit history or government benefits?
Changing your Social Security number should not negatively impact your credit history or your eligibility for government benefits. The SSA cross-references your old and new numbers to ensure that you continue to receive the benefits and credits you’re entitled to.
Can I apply for a new Social Security number online?
Unfortunately, you cannot apply for a new Social Security number online. You must contact the Social Security Administration and schedule an appointment to complete the application process in person or over the phone.
Can I apply for a new Social Security number if I have a valid reason, even if it’s not listed in the article?
The eligibility criteria outlined in the article represent the most common situations in which a new Social Security number is issued. If you believe you have a valid reason not covered in the article, it’s advisable to contact the Social Security Administration and discuss your specific circumstances with them.