The Social Security Administration issues Social Security numbers to U.S. citizens, including children. You can get your child a Social Security number when he's born, or wait until later. The number is issued along with your child's Social Security card, which clearly states the nine-digit number right on the front.
Store your child's Social Security card with your other important documents in a safe place. Do not carry it in your wallet or purse -- if it's stolen, your child may become a victim of identity theft.
Get Your New Baby a Social Security Number
Once your baby is born, apply for a Social Security card as soon as possible. You can apply at the hospital, when you provide the information for his birth certificate. In this case, all you need to provide is both parents' Social Security numbers. The Social Security Administration will mail your baby's new card to your home. Each state has a different processing time for the new card, but you should receive your baby's new card within three to 12 weeks.
Get Your Child a Social Security Number
If you didn't apply for your child's Social Security number when he was born, you can apply later, at the Social Security office near you. You'll need to provide:
- A completed Application for Social Security Card
- An original or certified copy of your child's birth certificate
- Documentation of your child's identity (passport, school ID card, school or daycare record, hospital record, adoption decree or religious record)
- Documentation of your identity (Social Security prefers that you provide a driver license, state-issued ID or passport)
- Documentation of citizenship
Children ages 12 and older must be present at your local Social Security office obtain their first Social Security number.
The Social Security Administration only accepts original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency. Photocopies or notarized copies are not accepted.
Replace Your Child's Lost Social Security Card
If you need to provide your child's Social Security number on your tax return or a form, you'll find the number listed on the front of the card. However, if you can't find the card, try looking in your other records, such as previous tax returns.
If you've lost your child's card, you can get a replacement card. The agency will issue three replacement cards per year, and up to 10 replacements during your a person's lifetime for free. The document requirements are the same to replace the card as to obtain the original. However, if you've already established your child's legal U.S. citizenship with the agency, you will not have to present a birth certificate or passport.
Many companies offer original and replacement Social Security cards, for a fee. Don't pay money for this service. The Social Security Administration issues cards for free and offers assistance at 1-800-772-1213.