Do you need a new Social Security card? According to the SSA website, all you need to do is to complete the application and provide the proof that they require.
In some cases, you can even file your application online. In most cases, however, you need to download, print out and complete the form, and submit it to the SSA with your documents. It sounds relatively simple, but it doesn’t work out that way if you aren’t aware of the rules.
The form itself is straightforward, but it must be filled in completely correctly or your application will be rejected. What’s of even more concern is that you must send in at least two original documents to prove that you are a citizen and to verify your age and identity.
This means that if you’re mailing in the application, you’ll be sitting without your ID for a period of at least two weeks while the application is being processed.This is not such an issue when it’s your birth certificate or your passport, but it becomes a more serious issue when it’s your driver’s license.
You’ll most likely have to send in the originals. Your alternative is to go to the agency that initially issued the documentation and ask for a certified copy. To cut down on fraud, no other copies are allowed, not even if they’re notarized.
Then there’s the issue of what documents to send in, whether they’re valid, and whether they meet the SSA’s requirements. If something is wrong in this area, you guessed it; your application will be declined.
What Are the Alternatives?
You can go into an SSA office and ask for help completing the document and find out what you need to submit with your application. That’s about as much fun as going to the DMV and could take longer. The chief advantage of doing things this way is that you don’t have to pay an application fee.
However, if you add the amount of time that might be wasted, it might not be worth paying the $20 or so that it will cost you to use an application filing service.
What Does an Application Filing Service Do?
Contrary to what you might expect from the name, they won’t file your application for you. The SSA is very strict about who can and cannot file a request online, so you’ll still have to apply yourself.
The advantage of using the service, however, is that it makes filling in the application simpler. For the most part, you’ll be asked to answer some questions,and the form will be completed for you online. All you’ll have to do is to download it and print it out.
The other advantage is that they’ll let you know what documents to attach. The purpose of these services is to alleviate a lot of the guesswork that goes with these applications.
Could you do it yourself? Most certainly, if you want to look up the information and forms for yourself, it is available online. Is it easier using the service? For some people, yes. The exception will be if you’re well-versed in how the government works, or if you can apply online for your SSC.