Social Security Name Change: A Complete Guide for 2022

Social Security Card

You can legally change the name on your social security card after marriage, divorce, or court order through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Getting a new social security card paves the way for other name changes, such as your driver's license and passport.

Your social security number (SSN) will stay the same after changing your name.

Name change requirements

Name change pillars of proof

You can change the name on your social security card by completing the SS-5 application and providing:

  1. Proof of name change
  2. Proof of age
  3. Proof of identity
  4. Proof of citizenship or lawful immigrant status

Any evidence you offer—ID, records, certificates—must be original or certified copies. Photocopies, notarized copies, photos, and receipts are unacceptable.

Does this mean you're obliged to mail your driver's license and unearth your birth certificate? Maybe not. You may only have to satisfy the first condition (explained later).

SSA name change limits. Letters, spaces, hyphens, apostrophes, and suffixes allowed. No titles, nicknames, or abbreviations.

Your legal name is your first and last name only. The SSA will still print your middle name and suffix on your social security card if enough space is available.

Your name may only contain letters, spaces, hyphens, and apostrophes. Suffixes are okay. Omit your personal title, such as Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., Esq., Sister, or Father.

Don't use a nickname or abbreviation, such as Liz for Elizabeth or Deb for Deborah, unless it's your actual legal name.

SS-5 social security name change form

SS-5 Form, Social Security Administration Application for a Social Security Card

Use Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card) to:

  • Change your name.
  • Get a new social security number.
  • Correct a flawed social security record.
  • Request a replacement social security card.

The form will ask you to spell out your:

  • Birth name
  • Current name
  • Other names used
  • New name to be shown on card
  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Birthplace
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Citizenship
  • Parents' names
  • Parents' social security numbers
  • Daytime phone number
  • Mailing address
  • Today's date
  • Signature

Sign your new name on the application. Make it legible. You can omit your parent's social security number if you're 18 years old or older.

On the whole, you needn't worry if you messed up your the signature on your social security card application. You should sign your new name, but you may sign:

  • Your maiden name
  • Your prior name
  • Your initials
  • An abbreviation
  • An apparent nickname
  • Without your middle name

For instance, signing Kate for Katherine or J. Brown for Jay Eli Brown is fine.

You can fill out the social security form using our name change kit. Be prepared to download, print, sign, and mail your auto-filled PDF form.

Proof of name change

Proof of name change

There are four unique name change events:

  1. Marriage
  2. Divorce
  3. Court order
  4. Naturalization

Proven by their respective name change documents:

  1. Marriage certificate
  2. Divorce decree
  3. Court order
  4. Certificate of naturalization

Let's unpack each event, starting with the most common…

Marriage name change

Marriage name change using your marriage certificate
Change your name after marriage via your marriage certificate.

Thirteen states will allow you to choose your new married name when applying for a marriage license, which shows up on your marriage certificate:

  • California
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon

The following map illustrates how most states (representing 70% of the U.S. population) won't ask that you pick out your new name when applying to get married.

U.S. map highlighting the twelve states whose marriage license application asks for your new married name
New name chosen on the marriage application in 13 states.

For the remaining 37 states and D.C., you can "derive" your new name in four ways:

  1. Full last name
  2. Partial last name
  3. Hyphenated last name
  4. Double-barreled last name

These rules apply to same-sex marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships too.

1. Full last name

Take your spouse's entire last name, as-is. This is the "traditional" approach.

2. Partial last name

Take one whole part of your spouse's hyphenated or space-separated last name. (Assuming such name exists.)

3. Hyphenated last name

Combine your and your spouse's last names with a hyphen (-), in either order.

4. Double-barreled last name

Join your and your spouse's last names, separated by a space, in either order. Space is mandatory; names can't be flush.

Married name change examples

The following exhibits your choices if your last name were Adams and spouse's Baker.

OptionNew last name
FullBaker
HyphenatedAdams-Baker
HyphenatedBaker-Adams
Double-barreledAdams Baker
Double-barreledBaker Adams

Here's an example using Adams and Baker-Smith

OptionNew last name
FullBaker-Smith
PartialBaker
PartialSmith
HyphenatedAdams-Baker-Smith
HyphenatedBaker-Smith-Adams
Double-barreledAdams Baker-Smith
Double-barreledBaker Smith-Adams

You can't change your first name through marriage; petition the court instead.

Divorce name change

Divorce name change using your divorce decree
Change your name after divorce via your divorce decree.

You can return to your maiden name using your divorce decree. Or any prior legal name. Men and women. Just ask the judge to include the written order.

If your decree has a name restoration order:

  • You can only return to that name.
  • It will be accepted by all government agencies.

If your decree is missing a name restoration order:

  • The SSA can restore your maiden name.
  • The SSA can restore any prior name on file.
  • It might be accepted by other government agencies.

Divorce name change rules apply to similar legal break-ups:

  • Annulment
  • Civil union dissolution
  • Domestic partnership dissolution

You can skip your divorce name change if you plan to switch it later after getting married again. This avoids a redundant, back-to-back name swap.

Court order name change

Court-petitioned name change using your court order

For a court-petitioned name change, you can only transition to the judge-approved name shown on your court order.

A court order is the most powerful name change instrument, permitting unbounded first, middle, and last name revisions. Reach for this tool if all else fails.

Naturalization name change

Naturalization name change using your certificate of naturalization

You can ask the court for a new name during naturalization, then use your certificate of naturalization as proof.

Proof of age

Proof of age

False assumptions on name change and birth certificates merits mentioning that you don't have to prove age to:

  • Change your name.
  • Obtain a duplicate card.
  • Replace a lost or stolen card.

But you must show evidence of age to:

  • Apply for your first card.
  • Correct your date of birth on file.
  • Get a brand new social security number.
  • Make up for forgetting your social security number.

You can confirm your age using a:

Proof of identity

Proof of identity

You must show one form of "primary" photo ID to change your name. If mailing identification alarms you, there may be a surprising workaround. Let's cover this rule first…

U.S. citizens, show your American:

  • Driver's license
  • State-issued ID card, or
  • Passport book or passport card

U.S. lawful immigrants, show your foreign passport and:

  • Green card
  • Arrival/departure record
  • Machine-readable immigrant visa, or
  • Employment authorization document (EAD)

Alternative, secondary ID

Secondary ID options, when primary ID is unavailable

You can show secondary ID if primary ID is unavailable. Unavailable means you can't "easily" access or replace it within ten business days.

The following table shows acceptable alternative IDs, which must contain your photograph, age, or date of birth:

DocumentU.S. citizensNon-citizensAge
U.S. military ID cardYesYesAll
U.S. official passportYesNoAll
U.S. diplomatic passportYesNoAll
U.S. certificate of citizenshipYesNoAll
U.S. certificate of naturalizationYesNoAll
U.S. Indian tribal cardYesNoAll
School record (current year)YesYesAll
Medical recordYesYesAll
Religious recordYesYesBirth to 17
Life insurance policyYesYes6+
Final adoption decreeYesYesBirth to 17
Employee ID card or badgeYesNo18+
Health insurance cardYesYesAll
Medicaid cardYesYesAll
Non-citizen state-issued ID cardNoYesAll
Non-citizen state-issued driver's licenseNoYesAll

The agency that issues your medical, religious, or school records must certify them. Insurance policies and medical cards must be current and active.

To reduce the chance of your paperwork returned asking for nonexistent primary ID, take preemptive action by attaching a note explaining your plight…

Please accept this secondary ID, as I cannot access or obtain primary evidence of ID within 10 business days.

Statement complying with SSA POMS RM 10210.420

Maybe you don't need ID

You may not need ID, use your name change document
You can avoid relinquishing your ID under key criteria.

It may be possible to use your name change document as ID. This offers the convenience of mailing your application without surrendering your driver's license, passport, etc.

This works by making sure your document:

  1. Is recently established
  2. Shows biographical information
  3. Matches your current name on file

Review the primary ID options if your name change document doesn't qualify as ID.

1. Is recently established

You've crossed the biggest hurdle if your name change event took place within the past two years. (It extends to four years if you're below the age of 18.)

There's no hard name change deadline. But waiting too long increases your burden—mailing ID and awaiting its return. Even then, alternative ID options exist.

2. Shows biographical information

Your name change document must—and should—show biographical data matching your current social security record:

  • Age
  • Date of birth, or
  • Parents' names (one or both)

Any of the above three details work, but nothing else.

3. Matches your current name on file

Your name change document must mention the name on your current social security card. So, were your name Jane Doe before changing, your document must show likewise.

Proof of citizenship

Proof of citizenship

In the unlikely event that the Social Security Administration is unaware of your U.S. citizenship, show your:

  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. birth certificate
  • KIC-class American Indian card
  • Consular report of birth abroad (CRBA), or
  • U.S. certificate of citizenship or naturalization

The bottom line is that you can skip this step if the SSA issued you a social security card in the past with your citizenship status marked as U.S. citizen.

Proof of lawful immigrant status

Proof of immigrant status

If you're a U.S. lawful immigrant (non-citizen), verify your immigration status with your:

  1. Foreign passport
  2. Work authorization (if applicable), and
  3. Unexpired U.S.-issued immigration document

Student visa holders (F-1 or M-1), show Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). If employed, show a pay stub or employer letter listing your:

  1. Job
  2. Hours
  3. Start date
  4. Supervisor's name
  5. Supervisor's phone number

Exchange visitor visa holders (J-1 or J-2), show Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status). If employed, your sponsor must write a letter that's:

  1. Signed
  2. On their letterhead
  3. Authorizing you to work

Submitting your paperwork

By mail or in person

You have a big decision to make after preparing your paperwork—submit your application by mail or in person? The in-person experience is clear-cut:

  1. Visit your local social security office.
  2. Submit your paperwork for review and scanning.
  3. Retrieve your documents: identification, certificates, etc.
  4. Exit with your receipt of services rendered.
  5. Await your new card by mail.

You can schedule an appointment to change your name, which saves time by skipping the line. Walk-ins without an appointment are still welcome.

You cannot change your name with social security online or via MySSA (my Social Security). You must either apply by mail or in office.

Social security offices reopen

In-person service has returned to local social security offices on April 7, 2022.

COVID-19's impact on social security had closed field offices to the public for over two years, between March 17, 2020 and April 7, 2022. Forcing name change applications to mail…

Legacy SSA prerecorded notice on Coronavirus office closings.

The Social Security Administration is taking steps to protect the public and our employees during the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.

Until further notice, offices are open to provide limited, dire need, in person services by appointment only. We will continue offering services by phone and online.

Transcription of prerecorded notice on prior office closures.

Receiving your new card by mail

Social security name change turnaround time
Real-world name change turnaround times in 2021–2022.

It should take 7 to 14 days to receive your new social security card by mail. But COVID-19-related delays have stretched it out to 2 to 4 weeks. Eight weeks at worst.

Expect two deliveries

Supporting documents you send with your application will arrive earlier from your local office. The "Central Office" near DC and Baltimore will mail your card last.

For instance, if your mailed packet includes your:

  1. Completed SS-5 form
  2. Driver's license (proof of identity)
  3. Marriage certificate (proof of name change)

You'll get mailed two envelopes:

  1. One returning your license and certificate.
  2. Another containing your updated social security card.

It's normal for your card to arrive several weeks after your personal documents.

Securing your social security card

When your new social security card arrives by mail:

  • Sign it in ink.
  • Avoid making photocopies.
  • Seal it in a plastic bag or container.
  • Store it at home instead of your wallet or purse.

Don't laminate your card; it blocks built-in anti-counterfeiting security features.

Changing your name on other credentials

Updating other ID beyond social security

How should you order and space out your name change to-dos beyond social security? Here's the proper sequence:

  1. Green card
  2. Social security card
  3. Driver's license or Real ID
  4. Military ID card
  5. Passport
  6. IRS
  7. Employers
  8. Everything else

Let's explain each in quick succession…

1. Green card

Use Form I-90 to change your green card name. This precedes social security.

2. Social security card

Social security name change makes your new name legal.

3. Driver's license or Real ID

Wait at least 24 hours between your social security and driver's license name change; enough time for the SSA database to refresh before it's queried.

4. Military ID card

Update your military ID via DEERS or an ID card center.

5. Passport

Renew or change your passport name any time.

6. IRS

The SSA will alert the IRS that you've changed your name.

7. Employers

The name on your W-2s must match IRS records for proper social security benefits recording.

8. Everything else

Notify or update the leftovers:

  • Banks
  • Business cards
  • Car title and registration
  • Clubs
  • Credit cards
  • Doctor's offices
  • Government tax assessors
  • Insurance companies (auto, life, health, homeowners)
  • Internet properties (email and website)
  • Landlord
  • Memberships
  • Mortgage company
  • Pharmacists
  • Property deeds, titles, and trusts
  • Retirement plans (401k and IRA)
  • Shopping accounts (Amazon, eBay, PayPal)
  • Social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Utilities (water, electric, cable, phone, internet)
  • Voter registration

Conclusion

Whether you use this guide or our online name change kit to change your name, everything starts with updating your social security card. Good luck to you.

Your questions and comments are welcome below.

Do you plan to change your name?

Our online name change kit makes it easy.

Get Started

939 Comments

  1. Terri

    When I went to the SSA it wasn't "that bad" a wait. I had to wait but it was less than I thought. Had I thought about it I should have tried to make an appointment first but I have a feeling it's one of those things where it probably wouldn't matter if I had an appointment or not. I have a feeling I was gonna end up waiting anyway.

    By the way where I went there wasn't a line of folks standing around. They had chairs so you're not on your feet the whole time. But they were pretty filled up.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Terri. Thanks for sharing your experience. You're right, the SSA isn't quite the slog many folks make it out to be. If you get there at a good time, you can be in and out relatively quickly.

      Reply
  2. Deanna

    When I got married I put the name I wanted to change to on my marriage license. I havent changed it yet and now I'm having second thoughts. Am I required to change my name now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Deanna. No, you're not required to change your name. You can wait to do it later, or not at all. Just because you specified the intent to change your name when you applied for your marriage license doesn't obligate you to follow through. Simply doing nothing will keep your current name as-is, and unchanged.

      Reply
  3. Gregory Cupoli

    While at the Social Security office, we tried to change my spouse's name on his newly issued Social Security card. We had our certified marriage certificate but were told that they don't except marriage certificates from LA county (the county we were married in and where this Social Security office was) and that we'd have to get remarried in another county, like Orange County, in order to have the name change processed. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gregory. Did your spouse specify the "change to" name on the marriage license application, prior to getting married?

      Reply
      1. Gregory

        Yes, we did the name change on the marriage application. We ended up going to a different Social Security office who put the name change through no problem. Apparently the initial office had the procedure wrong. Thanks for responding!

        Reply
  4. Kg

    I married in 2013 – I have changed my name from

    Married to maiden on both my SS card and with the dmv. I am now entering into a personal business and using my maiden name. My concern and question is – if I can legally do this ? Or how will I file taxes? Under maiden or married?

    In addition I'm Now worried that although I was married in 2013 – I did not alert the IRS in my taxes of the marriage or the name change. I just changed name with as and dmv in 2015. What should I do? And my last question is about Social Security benefits obtained under my maiden name. Will they carryover to my married name in order that I may use them when necessary?

    Reply
    1. Kg

      Correction to my first sentence above …. I meant to say I changed my Social Security card and DMV name from "Maiden to married"

      Reply
    2. Valera

      My concern and question is – if I can legally do this ? Or how will I file taxes? Under maiden or married?

      Look into registering your maiden name as a DBA.

      In addition I'm Now worried that although I was married in 2013 – I did not alert the IRS in my taxes of the marriage or the name change. I just changed name with as and dmv in 2015. What should I do?

      When you change your name with the SSA the IRS is notified of it. If there were name mismatch problems, you should have been alerted of it. When you file your taxes, you'll need to use the name that matches your social security record.

      And my last question is about Social Security benefits obtained under my maiden name. Will they carryover to my married name in order that I may use them when necessary?

      Yes.

      Reply
  5. Mackenzie

    After scouring boards and websites and blogs, I feel like I have finally found the right place to ask this question!!

    My fiancé and I are getting married in a few weeks in Maine. We currently live in Chicago. When we get married we are hoping to change our last name to his current middle name. Do we need to put this new name on the marriage license to have it be valid at the social security office? Will there be an issue because it's not his current surname? I guess we could just attempt to send in the documents and hope for the best? Or would you recommend going into a SS office?

    Any guidance would be grand!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When we get married we are hoping to change our last name to his current middle name.

      This wouldn't be possible without a court order document.

      Reply
  6. Marie

    Hi,

    If I indicate the name change from maiden surname to married on the marriage license and have a marriage certificate does that "legal" change affect any of my current government issued IDs? I will be travelling internationally and was hoping to change to my married name with the SSA, passport, etc. when I return. I just want to be sure that when they scan my passport it won't somehow pick anything up about the legal change. Will I be okay to travel as long as I do not change anything with the SSA and my passport and travel documents both have my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I indicate the name change from maiden surname to married on the marriage license and have a marriage certificate does that "legal" change affect any of my current government issued IDs?

      Specifying a name change on your marriage license doesn't result in your name legally changing. You have to update your records with the necessary government entities to effect a name change.

      I will be travelling internationally and was hoping to change to my married name with the SSA, passport, etc. when I return.

      That's reasonable; to wait until later.

      I just want to be sure that when they scan my passport it won't somehow pick anything up about the legal change.

      It won't pick up anything.

      Will I be okay to travel as long as I do not change anything with the SSA and my passport and travel documents both have my maiden name?

      Yes, you'll be fine.

      Reply
  7. Patricia Caldwell

    Social Security Administration is Federal. Is there a Federal Law requiring you to change your name after you get married, or is it optional, due to your AS Number never changes?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a Federal Law requiring you to change your name after you get married, or is it optional,

      It's optional.

      Reply
  8. Keri

    Hi,
    When I got married last year I changed my last name to my husband's. On my SS card I had the option of keeping my maiden name for my middle name or dropping my maiden name altogether. I went with the latter. However now I regret it. I wish I still had my maiden name as a legal part of my name. Is it possible to change it now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Keri. You would have to get a court order to restore your middle name.

      Reply
  9. Neil

    I recently got married in DC. My wife and I chose an entirely new last name, and for practical reasons she legally changed her name prior to our wedding. On our marriage license, her name is on there with our new last name, but we wrote my current/unchanged name (not with the intended new last name) on the marriage license. Is this going to create a problem changing my name to our new last name at the SSA going to be a problem (since I never put down my intended new last name)?
    (The other complication is obviously that I'm a guy (sort of) taking my wife's last name, which I've heard can be more problematic and may not even be possible in some states. …And I want to keep my current last name as an additional middle name.) Any help would be immensely appreciated!

    Reply
  10. Jenny

    I got married in court 5 years ago and have legally changed my maiden name to my married name. The problem i had after that, was that i'd lost my (original/maiden) SS Card before getting married. So after filling out forms to obtain a new social security card with my married, the SSA finally gave me a new card (and of course with the same number). The thing is, when i have applied to a couple other jobs, they did background checks on me but for some weird reason, they couldn't pull up any record on file but they went ahead and hired me anyway. It also happened when i had to apply for a car insurance. They couldn't find anything but i got the insurance. What am i missing? When i went to the SSA office, i thought it was obvious that i needed a name change along with getting a new card to replace the lost one. What should I do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jenny. As you know, when you change your name your SS number stays the same. Name changes should bubble up to the credit bureaus, but it's possible it didn't fully propagate in your case. You can contact the credit bureaus to see if their records have been updated. Inquire about sending documentation confirming your name change. You may have to do it in writing. You can also order credit reports to see what they have on file.

      Reply
  11. Julia

    IF I change my name on my SSC by mail what documents do I need to mail along with the form?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Julia. A document detailing what prompts the name change (e.g., certified copy of marriage license or divorce decree, or court order) and supporting document verifying your identity.

      Reply
  12. Tori

    Hi. I was wondering if you could tell me if when you change your name on your SS card (recently married) do they notify everyone for me? Ex: post office, creditors, IRS, etc…
    I have seen websites where you can pay them to do this but I didn't feel like I could trust that nor do I want to pay for that service if I don't have to. Thanks !

    Reply
  13. jessica perez

    I successfully changed my name with SSA and kept my maiden name and middle name as a middle name and took my married name as last name. Went to the DMV yesterday with new SSC and marriage license. They changed my name on my Drivers license to just my original middle name and now married last name, They said they couldn't include my maiden name as middle name because they said it wasn't written as is on the marriage certificate. But now my SSC and Drivers Licence don't match. I am annoyed. Are they right?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. SSA's federal. DMV's state. They have separate standards. It's not unheard of.

      Reply
      1. Krystalle

        This really is annoying and no ine at the DMV could help. My husband has 2 last names, I only took on the first one with SSA, but DMV put the 2 last names. It made no sense, how will this affect me? Another question no one could answer, I was told to go change my name again. If I'm going to carry 2 last names I want my husbands and mine not both my husbands. Do I need a court order to fix this?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Krystalle. Yes, you would need a court order to change it again.

          Reply
  14. Angela

    I went to the SSO last week to change my name dropping my maiden name, keeping my middle name and took my husband's last name, got my new SSC and realized I really want to keep my maiden name too. Is it to late to have this corrected?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angela. You wouldn't be able to go back and change your name again with just your marriage certificate. You'll need another document showing a new name change event, such as a court order.

      Reply
  15. june

    I just get married and want to change my name to my husband name.I have ssc already n my JA passport, marriage certificate what else I need plz .

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi June. JA passport? I assume you're referring to your Jamaican passport? You'll also want to update the following, if they exist:

      U.S. passport, driver's license, state and/or military ID. Contact your place of employment to make sure your name is updated in their records and tax filings. Make sure your taxes are filed in the proper name. If your address has changed as well, notify the IRS and USPS. Finally, any non-government organizations, such as doctor's offices, online accounts, reissue of credit cards and checks in your new name. And on and on.

      Reply
  16. Hailey

    Hi,

    I have a few questions. I got married 6 months ago and wrote my intended name change on my marriage certificate but have not changed it legally yet. My husband will be moving to a different state soon and I will follow him about a year after that, so at first I was thinking of putting off changing my name until we move so that I can get a new drivers license with my new name at the same time I have to get one for the new state anyway.

    1. If I change my name through the SS office do I have to immediately change it at the DMV as well?
    2. What happens if I wait more than 2 years after our marriage to change my name?
    3. If I change my name through the SS office do I immediately have to have my job change my name for IRS purposes as well? Then do I have to file taxes from the 1/2 of the year I was my maiden name and the 1/2 I was my married name? Or would it still be one tax document?
    4. If I choose to mail my application to the SS office do I also need to send them my drivers license or just my marriage certificate with the SS5 form?
    5. Are there any cons of not legally changing my last name for ~1.5 years? It seems like it would be easiest to do it after I finish my time at my current job and when I am required to get a new state drivers license anyway.

    Thank you so much for all of the above answers. I have been stressfully procrastinating my name change for the last 6 months and I feel like you are finally giving me peace.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      1. If I change my name through the SS office do I have to immediately change it at the DMV as well?

      Some states mandate that your driver's license be updated within X days of updating your SS card. The consequence of not doing so can be vague to nonexistent, so it can act more as a motivator rather than a penalty.

      2. What happens if I wait more than 2 years after our marriage to change my name?

      Nothing happens, assuming you've not changed it with any institution. If you've updated with SS but not with the DMV, then when it comes time to renew, you'll have to renew it in your new name. If you lose your driver's license or need one reissued, you'll need to do so in your new name. If your state requires your name be updated with the DMV within a certain period of time following the SSA, then you'll have to deal with whatever consequence arises from that delay.

      3. If I change my name through the SS office do I immediately have to have my job change my name for IRS purposes as well?

      Yes, update your employer. You want what they report to match with what's on file with the IRS.

      Then do I have to file taxes from the 1/2 of the year I was my maiden name and the 1/2 I was my married name? Or would it still be one tax document?

      One tax document using your legal name; the name that's on file with the SSA/IRS. When you update with the SSA, they'll auto-notify the IRS of the name change.

      4. If I choose to mail my application to the SS office do I also need to send them my drivers license or just my marriage certificate with the SS5 form?

      First, I'll assume you're a U.S. citizen and your citizenship is sufficiently established with the SSA. If that's not the case, you'll have to confirm your citizenship by providing a supporting document, such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate or U.S. passport.

      You'll have to send in a certified copy of your marriage certificate no matter what. The question is, do you need to send in your driver's license as well?

      Let's assume that your marriage certificate provides enough information for the SSA to identify you in their records and you ultimately change your name within two years of marriage: In that case, you wouldn't need to provide your driver's license or another supporting identity document.

      If you only send in your SSA application and a certified copy of your marriage certificate and the SSA is not able to identity you in their records, you will be contacted to provide an identity document, such as driver's license, state ID, or U.S. passport.

      5. Are there any cons of not legally changing my last name for ~1.5 years?

      No, but if you wait more than two years, you must provide a supporting identity document.

      Reply
  17. Rachel

    Will they mail my documents back to me? And how long does that usually take to receive them back?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rachel. Yes, they should send them back. Turnaround time can range between 2-6 weeks.

      Reply
      1. Rachel

        If they don't return my items to me, and I don't receive any information after 6 weeks, what should I do then?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Rachel. You can phone the SSA to inquire where things stand. You don't have to wait 6 weeks. You can call anytime to try and get an update.

          Reply
          1. Rachel

            Ok, thank you. They will be able to tell me if they received my items? I am just worried since I mailed them in, and haven't received any information yet.

          2. Valera

            Hi Rachel. Yes, they should be able to provide a status update.

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