If the name on your driver’s license doesn’t match up with your social security card, you could be in for a bit of trouble. Your social security number is probably the most important set of numbers in your life and is required for everything from getting a job to opening a bank account, borrowing money, voting, getting a credit card, filing tax returns and much much more.
What happens if the names don’t match up? This could result in your earnings not being credited to the right account. It could prevent you from buying a house. Mismatched names could also cause problems in processing your tax return and may even delay any refunds come to you. You can prevent this from happening by changing your name on your Social Security card to match the name you are currently using.
As an adult, I’ve gone through the process of changing my name on my Social Security card several times; twice when I got married, once when I got divorced, and again when I finally had my first name legally changed to match up with all the rest of my identification. The process is really quite easy but does take a little bit of time.
Here is how it’s done.
Assemble your legal documents
Any name change on a Social Security card needs to be backed up with legal documents to support the name change with the document showing both the old name and the new one.
If you changed your name due to marriage, a copy of the marriage certificate will work. For a divorce, the divorce decree that shows the Order for Name Change is sufficient. If you are tired of your name and just want to change it (like I did) your need a court order showing both the old and the new names. Along with these documents you will also need to present some picture ID such as a current driver’s license.
Download the forms
Got your paperwork? Great! You can now download Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card from the Social Security Administration website. The form has 18 easy boxes to fill out and once completed can be delivered with your supporting documents to your local Social Security office. That’s all there’s to it.
While you do have the option of mailing these documents, it’s been my experience that handling a name change is best dealt with in person. This way you’ll know that the Social Security office has everything they need to get your replacement card with your correct name on its way.
More by this contributor:
A DIY guide to changing your name legally
How to apply for Social Security Death Benefits
Where can I get a copy of my federal tax returns?
Resources: IRS Publication: 5 tips if you changed your name due to marriage or divorce