The U.S. Social Security Administration is responsible for the accurate tracking of your social security benefits and payments. In order to track this information, the SSA must record your annual work history, which includes your work locations and total annual earnings. If the agency cannot track this information accurately, this will affect your Social Security benefits during your retirement. Several life events have an effect on Social Security tracking. A Social Security name change will influence the agency’s ability to track your information properly.
What Events Require a Social Security Name Change?
Several life events can cause your name to change. Marriage and divorce are two of the top reasons. Other causes include a court ordered name change and immigration status. If a woman decides to change her last name once she is married, she will need to notify the SSA. In the event of a divorce, a request during the divorce proceedings will establish a change back to the maiden name. In other situations, a court ordered name change, such as a name change for a child, will warrant a social security name change as well.
How Can I Complete a Social Security Name Change?
Several options are available to complete a name change. You must first collect the required legal name change documentation. The information you collect depends on your name change situation. If you were recently married or divorced, you will need your marriage license or divorce decree. For court ordered name changes, you will need your official court order. Immigration-related changes require certificates of naturalization or citizenship documents.
You will also need records that prove your identity. For example, you can collect your valid state-issued driver’s license, military identification, employee ID card or another valid method of identification. Once you gather your documents, you must complete an application for Social Security card. The application requests your basic contact information, identity information, citizenship data and the name shown on the most recent social security card.
Once you complete the application, you can submit the information in one of two ways. You can mail the information, along with the original or notarized copies of your supporting documentation. The SSA will not accept copies and returns any originals you mail them. You can also take your complete application to your nearest SSA office. The SSA verifies your documentation and mails your card within 10 business days, provided there aren’t issues with your application.