Invite Social Security To Your Wedding

If You're Changing Your Name, How to Tell The Social Security Administration

Invite Social Security To Your Wedding
June 24, 2016

Congratulations! You are getting married soon, and you are caught up in a whirlwind of planning activities. There are so many details to consider that you may forget one important detail that applies if you are changing your name — applying for a new Social Security card.

Social Security uses your earnings history to calculate your benefits. The 35 years in which you earned the most (adjusted to account for wage changes over time) are used in the benefit calculation. If you forget to notify your employer and the Social Security Administration (SSA) about your name change, any W-2 forms received after the name change may be incorrectly recorded and your Social Security benefits may be incorrectly calculated.

You may not even be aware of the problem until you retire and find your benefits to be lower than you expected. It could take some time to straighten out years of earnings filed under the wrong name. Your benefits may be delayed as a result, or even reduced if the correct earnings cannot be established.

How do you apply for a new Social Security card after a name change? The SSA does have an online service, but unfortunately, you cannot use it to apply for a new card. You will have to either send an application in by mail or bring it in to your local Social Security office, along with the necessary supporting documents.

To receive a new Social Security card, documents are required to prove identity, citizenship, and the legal basis for the name change. For a name change, your new card will be issued with the same number as your old card.

In the case of a name change, you will not need to establish citizenship unless citizenship was never established in the first place. If you do need to establish citizenship, the most common documents to use are either a passport or a birth certificate showing U.S. origin.

Suitable identification documents include a U.S. passport, U.S. driver's license, or a non-driver ID card issued by a state agency. All documents must be originals or copies certified by the issuing agency — no notarized copies or photocopies are allowed. Driver's licenses or non-driver ID cards must be current. While passports or state issued IDs are preferred, you may be able to use other ID cards such as employee, school, or military ID cards that contain relevant information. Contact your local Social Security office if you are not sure that a particular ID is suitable.

To prove that your name change is legal, you will need to provide the documented proof of your marriage. Note that proof of name change status is necessary for any name change reason (decree of divorce, Naturalization Certificate, etc.).

Check here for further details on the required documentation for your new card. Under the "Type of Card" category, select "Corrected."

If you are part of a same-sex couple and planning to change your name, the same rules apply. Thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, same-sex couples have the same options as opposite-sex couples in determination of Social Security benefits.

Be sure to include the SSA in your wedding plans to avoid problems when you retire. They may not send you a gift for your reception, but you will receive your "gift" down the road with a smooth transition into your retirement benefits. That is much better than an engraved gravy boat.

Let the free MoneyTips Retirement Planner help you calculate when you can retire without jeopardizing your lifestyle.


Photo ©iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

  Conversation   |   23 Comments

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Erin | 06.24.16 @ 18:03
It really wasn't that hard to request a new card when I got married. It was a little bit of a wait like at the dmv, but as long as you go into it with the right attitude and have the proper documentation, it's pretty simple.
Carla Truett | 06.24.16 @ 18:03
This is great advice. I put this off for quite a while when I got married. It was easily forgotten because I didn't make it a priority.
Steffanie | 06.24.16 @ 18:04
I remember having to go to the SS office to get my name changed. Seems like it is a little easier nowadays.
trish | 06.24.16 @ 18:07
I remember it being a pretty easy process 14 years ago. But sometimes you get so wrapped up in the whirlwind of the event, you forget things like this.
Angie | 06.24.16 @ 18:09
What a timely article! I can send this to my daughter who just got married. Nice to have the up-to-date info - my name change was almost 30 years ago!
Elaine | 06.24.16 @ 18:13
I didn't have any issues changing my name some twenty years ago. However, I have wondered how all the divorcees did it and now I know. Still makes me sad when I see the name change for that reason.
Sara | 06.24.16 @ 18:14
That is some good advice. Though 5 years ago when I got married the hardest part was the DMV the social security card was easy.
Stokes | 06.24.16 @ 18:15
It was a bit of a wait at the SS office, but it wasn't difficult. Only keeping my middle name was difficult.
Irene | 06.24.16 @ 18:18
The title of the article made me laugh out loud. I had such an ordeal getting a new card when I got married, and when I did our taxes they told me it was not my social security number
Tina | 06.24.16 @ 18:21
I am so thankful I didn't have an issues changing my name. My license and marriage license were all I needed to prove who I was and that I had changed my name. Then I took the new SS card and marriage license and updated my driver's license easily.
Christina | 06.24.16 @ 18:25
Great reminder :). I've changed my name twice, and hopefully that's the last time!
Amanda | 06.24.16 @ 18:30
Going through all this right now, SS was the easiest to do, but the longest wait so far. I had forgotten the pain to go through and have everything change, so this is a nice reminder.
Bobbie | 06.24.16 @ 18:32
Does not take long to make all the necessary name changes. Started with DMV and after I got the new License with new name hit Social Security and the banks. Credit cards were easy enough as well. Voter registration was the only one I forgot abut, but still no biggie.
Heather | 06.24.16 @ 18:35
I've always just gone down to the office to change my name. Never thought about sending an invite.
brittany.martinez530 | 06.24.16 @ 18:48
Getting a new card wasnt really that much of a hassle when i got mine.
Jo Ann | 06.24.16 @ 18:59
Getting a new card is important Also if its your second marriage you can still draw off of your first spouse if you were married for at least 10 years. The laws are tricky but keeping SSA up to date on name is very important for your future retirement.
Jane | 06.24.16 @ 19:06
My sister has changed her name with Social Sercutiy a few times and never had a problem.
Leslie | 06.24.16 @ 19:13
I remember it was very easy to change my name on my Social Security card, but I admit it wasn't on the top of my to-do last. This is a great reminder how important updating your I. D. It's.
Patricia Frederick | 06.24.16 @ 19:16
I got it done as soon as possible. You know that whole young and in love thing. But if I had to get married now, I'm not even sure I'd change my name again - unless it wS shorter. When I was younger I complained all the time about my name being t00 long. So, course, I marry someone with 3 more letter in their last name!@
Nancy | 06.24.16 @ 19:26
This is valuable information. I will be sure to share it with my future husband when he takes my name.
George Middleton | 06.24.16 @ 19:31
My wife had a list of all the name change she had to do 16 years ago.
Kamie | 06.24.16 @ 19:34
I will be going about all this stuff, but I am glad to know that it can be done online now. It should make it a lot easier and quicker for me. Better than waiting in line to get paperwork
Christina | 06.24.16 @ 19:35
I will pass this to my daughter, She just got married this will show her a lot.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 12.08.16 @ 22:06
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