Getting a Social Security card for your child is crucial to verify your child’s identity and receive certain private sector and government services. If your child’s card was lost or misplaced, you can request a replacement card from the Social Security Administration (SSA) free of charge.
According to the SSA, your child’s Social Security number (SSN) can be used to: open a bank account for the child, buy savings bonds for the child, get them medical coverage, apply for government services and claim them as a dependent on your income tax return. The SSA gives step-by-step instructions for parents and guardians to easily order a replacement Social Security card.
Gather all of the necessary documents you’ll need to prove your child’s identity, age, and U.S. citizenship — or immigration status if the child is not a U.S. citizen. You’ll also need to verify your identity as well. The SSA also says that these documents must be either original copies or copies certified by the agency that issued them. Here’s what you may need:
To prove your child’s identity: State-issued nondriver’s identification card, U.S. passport, adoption decree, doctor or hospital record, religious record, school or daycare center record or school ID card.
To prove your child’s age: U.S. birth certificate, religious record made before the age of 5 showing the date of birth or U.S. passport.
To prove your child’s U.S. citizenship: U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth abroad, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.
To prove your own identity: U.S. driver’s license, state-issued nondriver’s identification card or U.S. passport.
Next, you’ll need to fill out an application for a replacement Social Security card. You can mail the application — and all attached documentation — to the Social Security office or Social Security Card Center that serves your area. The SSA will return any documents you mailed with a receipt and date.
Note: if you are mailing a replacement Social Security card application for your child, you are not required to submit original primary evidence of identity for yourself.
Once everything is completed and the SSA has verified all required documents, you should receive the card within two weeks from the date on the receipt. You can also contact your local Social Security office or your local Social Security Card Center for additional submission options.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Replace Your Child’s Social Security Card for Free — Here’s How