A Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, open a bank account, get credit, collect certain benefits and receive some other government services.
If you have never applied for a Social Security number before and you are age 12 or older, you must apply in person at a branch office. If you have a Social Security number, and you just need a replacement card, you can do this by mail or in person.
This service is free (limited to three replacement cards per year – 10 in a lifetime), but you will need certain ORIGINAL documents (or copies “certified by the custodian of record”). The documents you will need depend on your status and what you are requesting. Call or visit the website before you apply so that you know exactly what documents you need. A copy of the application is available on the Social Security website.
It may take anywhere from 10 days to several months to process your application depending on your status. A U.S. citizen from Ohio can usually expect the process to take four to five weeks.
For information and the number of a branch near you contact:
US Social Security Administration