News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 10, 2013

Social Security: Things to know about SS card

Brian Hewitt
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Q: I can’t seem to find my Social Security card. Do I need to get a replacement?

A: In most cases, knowing your Social Security number is enough. But if you do apply for and receive a replacement card, do not carry that card with you. Keep it with your important papers. For more information about your Social Security card and number and for information about how to apply for a replacement, visit www.socialsecurity.

gov/ssnumber.

Q: I applied for a replacement Social Security card last week but have not received it. When should I expect to receive my new card?

A: On average, it takes approximately 10 to 14 days to receive your replacement Social Security card. However, if we need to verify documents you present as proof of identity, it could take longer in some cases.

Q: What can I do if I think someone has stolen my identity?

A: You should do several things, including:

• File a report with the local police or the police department where the identity theft took place, and keep a copy of the police report as proof of the crime;

• Notify the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-ID-THEFT or 1-877-438-4338);

• File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov; and contact the fraud units of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax (800-525-6285); Trans Union: (800-680-7289); and Experian: (888-397-3742). Learn more by reading our publication, Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10064.html.

• If your Social Security card has been stolen, you can apply for a replacement card. That said, you usually don’t need a new card as long as you know your number.

Q: I applied for my child’s Social Security card in the hospital but have not received it. How long must I wait?

A: On average, it takes about 4 to 5 weeks from the time you apply in the hospital until you receive your child’s Social Security card in the mail. However, it can vary depending on the State where you live. If you have not received your child’s card within six weeks, please visit your local Social Security office. Be sure to take with you proof of your child’s citizenship, age and identity as well as proof of your own identity. And remember, we cannot divulge your child’s Social Security number over the phone.

Q: What are some of the documents Social Security will accept as proof of identity for a child?

A: While you can use a birth certificate to prove age or citizenship, you cannot use it as proof of identity. For identity, we prefer to see the child’s U.S. passport. If you don’t have a passport, we may accept the child’s:

n Adoption decree;

n Doctor, clinic, or hospital record;

n Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);

n Daycare center or school record; or

n School identification card.

We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child’s name and age, date of birth and parents’ names). All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

Q: Is it illegal to laminate your Social Security card?

A: No it is not illegal, but it’s best not to laminate your card. Laminated cards make it difficult, if not impossible, to detect important security features. Also, your employer may refuse to accept it. The Social Security Act requires Social Security to issue cards that cannot be counterfeited. We incorporate many features to protect the card’s integrity. That includes highly specialized paper and printing techniques—some visible to the naked eye and some not. Further, we continue to explore and adopt new technologies that hamper duplication. Keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you.

Brian L. Hewitt is district manager at the Social Security Administration office at 222 Cherry St.