Q. I need to register my child for school in Hamilton County. Someone told me I could get a printout at the Social Security Office and not have to wait for a replacement card in the mail. Can I still get a printout?
A. To help combat the rising threat of fraud and identity theft, Social Security will no longer issue Social Security number printouts beginning on Aug. 1, 2014. If you need written confirmation of your Social Security number--perhaps your new employer needs verification--and you can't find your Social Security card, you can apply for a replacement.
But do you really need a replacement? In most cases, you don't need your card as long as you know your number. For all intents and purposes, your number is your card. Usually providing your number and identifying information is enough.
In the event you really do want or need a replacement card, either for yourself or for a child, you can find all of the details you need at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. The "Social Security Number and Card" page provides information on how to obtain a replacement card and what specific documents you need to provide.
Need a Social Security card for your new baby to claim him or her as a dependent on your tax return or to apply for government or social service benefits? In most cases, an application for your newborn's Social Security card and number is taken in the hospital when you apply for your baby's birth certificate. If not, you can request one for your child the same way you do for yourself.
Whether you need a Social Security card for yourself or your child, it's easy--and free--to apply for one. But consider whether a new Social Security card is really in the cards for you. It may be that your "card" is already with you--in your head.
While you're at our website, open your free my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. It can help you plan for retirement, check your earnings history, request your Social Security Statement, and more.
Learn more about your Social Security card and number at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
Gregory Holmes is district manager for Social Security in Chattanooga.