Your physical Social Security card may not be necessary to apply for Social Security disability benefits. However, your Social Security number is an essential piece of your application. If you know your Social Security number, you may not have to take any additional actions, even if you can’t locate your Social Security card. However, if you don’t know your Social Security number, you will need to take additional steps before beginning your Social Security disability application.

How to Get a Social Security Card

Blank Social Security CardGenerally, there are three options for getting a Social Security card. You may have had a Social Security card that you can’t find, you may be a United States citizen who never had a Social Security card before, or you may be a non-U.S. citizen who is eligible for a Social Security card.

U.S. Citizens Needing Replacement Social Security Cards

If you are a United States citizen who once had a Social Security card issued, you can request a replacement card online as long as you:

  • Are at least 18 years old.
  • Have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card from a participating state. If you live in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Vermont, either a driver’s license or state-issued identification card will work. However, you cannot currently seek a replacement Social Security disability card with a New Hampshire driver’s license or state-issued identification card.

You may not request a name change or make any other changes to your Social Security card when seeking a replacement card.

U.S. Citizens Seeking Social Security Cards for the First Time

If you are an adult born in the United States who was never issued a Social Security card, then you may apply to get an original card from the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration needs proof of your citizenship and age. The easiest way to do this is to submit an original birth certificate. If an original birth certificate does not exist, you may submit another document that proves your age and citizenship, such as a United States passport, a religious record made within five years of your birth, or a record from a United States hospital. Additional documentation that proves your identity, such as a driver’s license, may be required if you cannot submit a birth certificate or U.S. passport.

Once you have the required documentation, you will need to complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5.)

Social Security Cards for Non-U.S. Citizens

If you are not a United States citizen but are authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, you may qualify for a Social Security card. You will need a Social Security number to work, and you will need a Social Security number to collect disability benefits. The Social Security Administration will require certain immigration documents from you before issuing you a Social Security number.

Gather All of the Information You Need Before Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits

Your Social Security number is an essential piece of your Social Security application. It’s how the Social Security Administration will identify you and determine how much you’ve paid into the Social Security system. However, your Social Security number alone doesn’t tell the agency anything about your disability.

You will also need to complete a Social Security disability application and present all supporting documentation about your medical condition, disability, work history, and education. A mistake or omission on any part of your Social Security disability application may result in a delay or denial of services. Accordingly, it’s critical to complete your application honestly and completely.

Our experienced Boston area Social Security disability lawyers can help you from the moment you start thinking about applying for benefits until your checks are direct deposited into your bank account. We focus our practice on Social Security disability applicants in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

If you’d like more information about applying, we invite you to download a free copy of our book, Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process, and to contact us for a free consultation in our conveniently located Natick office or by phone.

Are You Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney in Boston, MA?

If you are looking to apply for social security disability, you need to speak with an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 888.904.6847 to schedule your free consultation.


John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer