Can You Change Your Social Security Number?

You can change your Social Security number with approval from the Social Security Administration.
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Written by Erin Oppenheim
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Edited by Dalia Ramirez
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You can change your Social Security number under certain circumstances. For example, if you are a victim of identity theft, were assigned a duplicate number or are facing a threat to your safety, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will issue you a new Social Security number and card.

To change your Social Security number, you’ll need to contact your local Social Security office and provide proof that you need new identification.

Who can change their Social Security number?

You can change your Social Security number if:

You and a family member have sequential numbers that are causing problems

Before June 2011, the SSA assigned Social Security numbers in sequential order

Social Security Administration. Social Security Number Randomization Frequently Asked Questions. Accessed Jul 28, 2023.
. For example, one person’s Social Security number could end in 1234 and their sibling's 1235. This method can cause potential issues such as fraud, identity theft, and administrative problems such as clerical errors.

You can request a new Social Security number if you and a family member have sequential numbers causing these issues.

Multiple people were assigned or are using the same number 

It's unlikely, but it's possible that the SSA assigned the same Social Security twice due to an error. Even if your number isn't a duplicate, another person might accidentally use your number because of a typo, or your employer might have mistyped it in their employment records. If someone else is using your number, you can apply for a new one.

You’re a victim of identity theft 

Social Security numbers are often used to acquire more information about a person, including their bank account numbers, in order to commit fraud or identity theft. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, 51,629 Americans were victims of identity theft in 2021

Federal Bureau of Investigation. Internet Crime Report. Accessed Jul 28, 2023.

If someone is using your Social Security number for work purposes, report it to the SSA. If someone is using your number to open lines of credit, you’ll need to go to to report it and establish a recovery plan. If you’ve tried these methods and your number is still being misused, you can apply for a new Social Security number.

You are experiencing severe harassment, abuse, or potential life endangerment 

The Social Security Administration can help if you are a victim of domestic violence, harassment or abuse. If sufficient evidence supports your case, the SSA will assign you a new number

Social Security Administration. Can I change my Social Security number?. Accessed Jul 28, 2023.

You have religious or cultural objections to certain digits in the original number 

To change your Social Security number for religious or cultural reasons, you’ll need to provide the SSA written documentation from a religious group with which you have an established relationship or association.

How to change your Social Security number

To change your Social Security number, you’ll need to:

  1. Schedule an in-person appointment to apply for a new number. 

  2. Gather all the necessary documents, which must be original or certified copies. You’ll need a state-issued ID card, U.S. passport or other proof of identity and citizenship.

  3. Provide evidence to support your reason for needing a new Social Security number.

  4. Print and complete the Form SS-5 application for a Social Security card. 

  5. Bring the completed form and all supporting documents to your scheduled appointment. You may also be able to apply by mail. 

According to the SSA, it takes about two weeks to verify documents and assign a new Social Security number.

What happens after you change your Social Security number?

Only change your Social Security number if it's necessary to do so, as it can affect your ability to interact with financial, medical and employment agencies. Once you’ve changed your number, notify important agencies of the change. These may include:

  • The IRS.

  • Your employer.

  • Your bank. 

  • Your school.

  • Your student loan provider.

  • Your Medicare or Medicaid provider.

  • Any primary care doctors or specialists with your medical records.

  • Third-party insurance companies.

Frequently asked questions

Social Security numbers are randomly generated and assigned. Before 2011, the SSA assigned them sequentially.

Businesses, private agencies, banks, and schools can request your Social Security number for identification if it doesn’t violate federal law. You are not required to provide it, but they can deny you services if you choose not to provide it.

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