How to apply and search for a Social Security Number
A Social Security Card is one of the most important documents you can have as a U.S. citizen or resident. While most people will have been issued a Social Security Number early on in their lives, there may be situations that arise when applying for a new or replacement number is a necessity. A Social Security Card may be lost or stolen, for example, necessitating the application of a new one. Do not delay in applying for a new Social Security Card! Without one, you may be exposing yourself to serious risks, including fraud and identity theft. Here is a brief breakdown of how to apply and search for a Social Security Number.
If you have a state-issued identification, such as a driver's license, from a handful of certain states then you may be able to apply for a replacement Social Security Card online. An online application can be made through the website of the Social Security Administration by those who are U.S. citizens, aged 18 or older, have a U.S. mailing address, are only applying for a replacement of their old card (i.e., are not changing the name or number on their card), and have state issued identification from the District of Columbia (driver's license only), Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Washington, or Wyoming (driver's license only).
For those who do not meet the requirements of applying online, they will need to apply either in person or through mail. For U.S. citizens who were born in the United States, certain documents will be required to prove their age and citizenship. The most useful document is a birth certificate. However, if a birth certificate does not exist, then other records may also be accepted, such as a U.S. passport, hospital records of the applicant's birth, a driver's license issued by a U.S. state, or other state-issued identification. Applicants aged 12 and over will also be required to participate in an in-person interview. For applicants who do not have U.S. citizenship or for U.S. citizens who were born outside of the U.S., additional documents and application procedures may be required. The Social Security Administration's website displays the application process for various citizenship and residency situations.
Searching for a Social Security Number
In addition to applying for a new Social Security Card, situations may also arise when you need to search for or verify another person's Social Security Number. You can do this in a number of ways, but before you do, make sure you have a legally valid reason. Because of identity theft concerns, states have passed strong laws in recent years protecting individuals from having their Social Security Numbers stolen. Check your own state's relevant laws before attempting any Social Security Number search. If you do have a valid reason for searching for a Social Security Number then you may want to start with the Social Security Number Verification Service, a free service run by the federal government that allows employers to verify the Social Security Numbers of their employees. There are also non-government verification services, although the reliability of such services cannot always be guaranteed. Finally, you can also hire a private investigator to conduct a Social Security Number search on a particular person.
A Social Security Number is extremely important. Being without one could make it difficult for you to find employment, apply for college, get a loan, and so on. If you do not have a Social Security Number, be sure to take the necessary steps rights away to get a new or replacement one as soon as possible.
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