Can You Legally Change Your Social Security Number?


Generally, Social Security only assigns one number to an individual. They use that number to record an individual’s earnings so that they can determine future benefits and, eventually, to track benefits paid. Only under the following circumstances can Social Security assign a different number:

•Sequential numbers assigned to members of the same family are causing problems;
•More than one person has been assigned, or is using, the same number;
•An individual has religious or cultural objections to certain numbers or digits in the original number;
•A victim of identity theft continues to be disadvantaged by using the original number; or
•Situations of harassment, abuse or life endangerment (including domestic violence).

When Social Security assigns a new number, they do not void or delete the original number. For integrity reasons, they cross-reference all the numbers assigned to the same individual.

To apply for a different number:

•Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5); and

•Take this and the following to the Social Security local office with documents proving:

U.S. citizenship (or immigration status and work eligibility);
Identity; and
Evidence to support your need for a new number

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Social Security cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.