Valentine’s Day is upon us, making this a popular time of year for proclamations of love. Such displays of affection can be as simple and sweet as a heart with a “be mine” message, or as life altering as a vow before the altar.

If you happen to be a newlywed who is head over heels in love, you may not be focused on things such as taxes or Social Security, but you should be. If you plan to exchange your maiden name for a married name - including hyphenated names such as Smith-Jones - be sure you let Social Security know.

Telling us about your name change shortly after your marriage will help us keep track of your earnings and will ensure that you and your family get the Social Security retirement, disability and survivors coverage you’re entitled to. Also, if the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security records do not show the same name and Social Security number, your federal income tax refund could be delayed.

If you choose to use your maiden name consistently throughout your working years, you do not need to contact us. However, if you decide to change your name at a later time, you should let us know so that we can update your Social Security record and send you a Social Security card with your new name.

There’s no need to pay someone else to mail in the information for you. Changing your name with Social Security is a quick, easy and free:

  • Visit
  • Read about the required documents
  • Click on Fill Out and Print an application (Form SS-5)
  • Or, call 1-800-772-1213 to obtain the form

We will need the completed application along with a marriage certificate or divorce decree verifying your old and new names. If you were born outside the United States, you also need proof of your U.S. citizenship or proof that you are lawfully living in the U.S. You can bring or mail these documents to us.

You may be focused on the one you love, and we don’t blame you. But if you like us (we hope you do), please visit our homepage ( and click on the Facebook icon to Like us on Facebook. You can follow us on Twitter, too. We share information daily that can help you and all your Valentines.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Social Security.