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Social Security Questions and Answers

By Erin Thompson, Public Affairs Specialist in Toledo, OH

Guest Column



We adopted a baby girl overseas and brought her home with us to the United States. We need to get a Social Security number for her. What do we do?



In general, to apply for a Social Security number for your child you must:


·       Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5), which you can find online at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber;

·       Show us documents proving your child’s:

o   U. S. citizenship or immigration status;

o   Adoption;

o   Age; and

o   Identity.

·       Show us a document proving your identity; and

·       Show us evidence that establishes your relationship to the child if your name is not noted as the parent on the child’s evidence of age. The adoption decree or the amended U.S. birth certificate will suffice.


In most cases, you can mail or take your application and original documents to your local Social Security office. Remember, all documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. You may not yet have proof of your child's citizenship, but we can assign a Social Security number based on documentation issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) upon the child’s arrival in the United States. When you do receive documentation of your child's citizenship, you can bring it to us and we will update your child’s record. We will mail your child’s number and card as soon as we have verified your documents with the issuing offices.



Can I use the metal or plastic versions of Social Security cards that some companies make?



We don’t recommend it. There is no need to have a replica of your card. In most cases, the only time you may need to produce your Social Security card is when you apply for employment. At other times, we strongly recommend that you keep anything with your Social Security number on it with your other important papers. Do not carry your Social Security card with you. Also, we strongly advise against laminating your card. Your Social Security card has many security features, which are not detectable if laminated. Those features include latent images you can only see at an angle and color-shifting ink. You should question anyone else other than your employer who asks for your Social Security number or your card. Not everyone you do business with needs it. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.



Can I get a new Social Security number if someone has stolen my identity?



We do not routinely assign a new number to someone whose identity has been stolen. Only as a last resort should you consider requesting a new Social Security number. Changing your number may adversely affect your ability to interact with Federal and State agencies, employers, and others. This is because your financial, medical, employment and other records will be under your former Social Security number. We cannot guarantee that a new number will solve your problem. To learn more about your Social Security card and number, read our online publication Your Social Security Number and Card at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10002.html.



What should I do if an employee gives me a Social Security number but cannot produce the card?



Seeing the card is not as important as putting the correct information on the worker's Form W-2. You can verify employee Social Security numbers by using the Social Security Number Verification Service. Just go to www.socialsecurity.gov/bso. This online service allows registered employers to verify employee Social Security numbers against Social Security records for wage reporting purposes.



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11/21/19 16:08:13 -0500.

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