If you are a bride-to-be planning a wedding, there’s so much to do: get the dress; choose a caterer; book a venue; select the flowers. But there’s one more important thing you may need to put on your list: contact Social Security if there’s going to be a name change.
You should tell Social Security if you legally change your name for any reason. You should also tell your employer. Skipping these important steps may:
■ Delay your tax refund; and
■ Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.
Changing your name with Social Security can be simple, if you prepare before visiting an office. First, go to www.socialsecurity.gov. Read the Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) online at www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ss-5.pdf. The site will further explain what two important documents you may need to take to the Social Security office.
First, you’ll need to show Social Security a recently issued marriage document as proof of your legal name change. You will be asked to provide additional documentation if the one you provide does not give enough information to identify you in records, or if you legally changed your name more than two years ago.
Second, you must provide an identity document that shows your old name. It also needs to have other identifying information, preferably a recent photograph. (An expired document as evidence of your old name is acceptable.)
Finally, if you are a U.S. citizen born outside the United States and the records do not show it, you will need to provide proof of your U.S. citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.
Keep in mind to bring original documents. A copy of an original is only accepted when it has been certified by the issuing agency. Photocopies or notarized copies of documents are not accepted.
Your new Social Security card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name. Social Security will mail your number and card as soon as the office has all of your information and has verified your documents with the issuing offices.
Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Hawai‘i. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)