If you feel like you need to change your Social Security number, you need to go through the Social Security Administration.
Unfortunately, for those looking to change their numbers, it may not be as simple as you think.
You may only change your number for specific and limited situations while also documenting why the change is necessary.
When a person receives a SSN after being born, they’re expected to keep that number for life.
If a person is looking to change this number, they must show the SSA that their original number is causing them issues or that by keeping that number they’re in harm’s way.
What are the reasons the SSA will accept for wanting to change your SSN?
The SSA overall discourages people from trying to change their SSNs, but they do allow it for certain reasons.
It ranges from financial harm due to identity theft to domestic violence dangers.
To change your number you must make an appointment with the SSA office and do this in person.
If approved, the SSA still keeps the old number on file to be sure any and all records are tied to the same person.
One reason for a change is if your personal safety is at risk. This means if there is a situation of harassment, abuse, or your life is in danger.
Documentation to help support this reason includes police reports, restraining orders, or medical records showing injuries related to the reason.
Related: Here are five major Social Security changes happening next month, including a larger payment
You also need letters from individuals with direct knowledge of the situation.
If you need to change your name too, that should be done before the SSN change.
If there are certain numbers or digits against your culture or religion, the SSA may change the number.
You need to provide written documentation to support the reason.
Sometimes the SSA runs into issues where people end up with the same Social Security number.
Though there’s a randomized number system in place to stop this from happening, it still happens.
This can be due to issues with employment and how people put the numbers in.
Sometimes people end up mistakenly using the same number and other times it’s fraudulently.
Another reason is if you’ve experienced identity theft and it’s continuing hardship in your life.
Just experiencing identity theft is not a good enough reason for the SSA. But having it be a continuous issue is.
You must show that you have exhausted all other possibilities to diminish the issue with no success.
Documents from third parties showing that the SSN is being used for fraudulent transactions will support the reason.
Being denied loans as well as having your credit score impacted can also support the reason for a SSN change.
Sometimes it isn’t just a mistake that people are using the same numbers for things like employment, but the SSA has made mistakes and given people the same number before.
The same birth record was given to both women, resulting in confusion and them being “the same person” for 25 years.
Finally, family members with similar names and social security numbers can cause issues.
If hardship is caused due to names and numbers being too similar, the SSA may consider changing it.