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Is it Possible to Get a New Social Security Number? Find Out Here

written by: Kristie Lorette•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 5/11/2011

There is a reason why experts tell you to protect your social security from getting into the wrong hands. This is because, in general, once you get a social security number, it stays with you for life--no matter what. Here, discover the exception to this rule.

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    About Your SS Number

    Learn under what circumstances you can change your social security number. Almost everything in life—work and school—is attached in some way to your social security number. You typically receive the number when you are a kid and it stays with you throughout your adult life. The social security number is an identification number for a myriad of purposes. With millions of Americans falling prey to identity theft each year, you may think that identity theft victims have the right to apply for and receive a new social security number. This, however, is not the case. Generally, there is only one scenario that someone is able to obtain a new social security number.

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    Exception to the Rule

    According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), one of the only times a social security number can be changed is when someone is forced to change their identity. This is done primarily in cases where people are victims of harassment, domestic violence, abuse or other life-threatening situations. Identity theft victims, however, simply have to work through the process of clearing up the fraudulent accounts and debt. Once you know that you are eligible to change your social security number, then you have to learn how to change a social security number.

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    How to Make the Change

    The process on how to change a social security number is similar to applying for a new social security number, with some minor exceptions. To make the change, you have to apply for a new number by completing and submitting an application. You can obtain an application from your local social security office or download the form from the Social Security Administration's website (link below).

    Once you complete the application, you have to gather the supporting documents to submit with the application. These documents include the evidence documents proving the harassment, abuse or life-threatening situation causing you to change your social security number in the first place. You also need to provide your current social security number, citizenship or immigration documents, age, identity, and legal name change documents.

    If you have child custody or dependents, you'll have to provide these documents and the appropriate identity information on them as well to request new social security numbers. All of the documents you submit to the office must be original documents or certified documents. If you do not submit all of the documents or the correct documents, this may delay the processing of the application for a number and identification card.

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    Submit and Receive

    Once you have your application packet together, take all of the information to your local social security office. After you submit all of the information to the office, they will process the application and documents. Once they verify all of the information, the office will send your new social security card to you in the mail.

    Finally, it's recommended you discuss your situation with a representative from the Social Security Administration before submitting documents to ensure you do qualify under this one exception where you can request a new number. You can find a list of SSA offices here.

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    SSA - New SS Numbers for Domestic Violence Victims -

    SSA Website -

    SSA Logo courtesy of