Getting Your Social Security Card Online
Online applications show that the SSA is open to new technology and making the process more comfortable for the applicant.
Would you rather drive miles to a government office and deal with a potentially dull, officious bureaucrat or relax and do business online at home or work? Dealing with a government department can be frustrating, but there is hope. The Social Security Administration allows people to fill some applications online. Online applications show that the SSA is open to new technology and making the process more comfortable for the applicant.
That said, it is only under stringent conditions that you are allowed to complete the application online. The SSA needs to be able to verify your identity against state records. As long as you have a valid state-issued identity card or a driver's license and your application qualifies, you're golden.
Who Qualifies to Apply Online?
You may submit an online application if:
• You’re 18 years old or older.
• You are a citizen.
• Your state is part of the program – not all states have joined up.
• You have some form of an identification card issued by the state.
• You have a driver's license issued by the state.
• Your details as registered with the state match precisely. So, if you've been a little tardy in updating your details with the DMV, you might have a problem.
• You're not changing any details. The new card must have all the same information as the old one. So, if you're applying because you've changed your name, you're out of luck.
• The card is not your first.
There are a couple of other conditions related to the length of time since the administration issued your last card, but the ones we mentioned are the main ones that trip people up. Applying online would be much simpler, but’s it’s just not an option for everyone.
How Else Do I Apply?
You have two other options – you can report to your nearest SSA office, or you can mail the documents to them. In our opinion, it's better to apply at the office. Why? Because you need to hand in your original documents with your application.
If you go into the office, you'll get these back straight away. If you're mailing them in, you'll need to wait about two weeks to get them back. That's not a long time in the scheme of things, but it is a long time if you can't drive because you've had to mail in your driver's license.
And no, you can't give the SSA a copy, even a certified one, unless the department that issued the original issues the copy. So, it's not a winning situation. To get a copy of your driver's license, you'd have to go to the department of motor vehicles office.
Also, because you have to present two forms of ID, that means sending in something like your passport or your official ID. Again, you could get a copy from the issuing departments, but that's hardly going to be a walk in the park either.
Your best bet is to go to the office in person or to make sure that your application is entirely correct when you submit it. If everything in your application matches up, and it's completed correctly, getting your new SSN is not that difficult.
How do you find out what you need exactly? You can check out the SSA website and try to figure it out, or you can take a shortcut and use an online application assistance site. You'll have to pay for the latter, but you'll get a head start on the form, and they'll tell you what documents you need.