SSN Offices: Everything you need to know

Why Are There SSA Offices? When Do I Need to Visit an SSA Office?

The Social Security Administration is constantly expanding its online services. You can apply for retirement, disability, Medicare benefits, or check the status of applications. You can even verify your SSN online. However, there are still a number of services that are only available in-person.

For example, requesting a replacement SSN card can typically only be done in an SSA office. Other services offered at SSA offices include:

  • Apply for retirement benefits
  • Apply for spouse or survivor benefits
  • Get help estimating your retirement benefits
  • Apply for Medicare
  • Apply for SSI or SSDI

This is not an exhaustive list of services.

What's a Field Office VS a Residence Office?

Field Offices offer the full range of SSA Services. Residence Offices, on the other hand, are small offices with a more limited number of services. Residence Offices are often located in remote, hard to serve areas. In some cases Residence Offices are located in community centers or nursing homes.

If you are unsure, you can contact the relevant SSA office before going there.

What to Expect when visiting an SSA Office?

SSA Offices are a lot like the DMV. Sometimes there is added security. You may need to go through a metal detector in some locations.

Once your inside, you'll get in and wait for your name to be called. Then you can meet with an SSA representative.

They will likely ask for a lot of personal information. It's important to bring the appropriate paper work.

Note: You may have to wait a long time. Please be patient and courteous to the SSA staff. They are there to help you and are often under-paid, overworked federal employees.

What Documents Should I Bring to an SSA Office?

There are a number of documents the SSA may need depending upon what service you're looking for. First and foremost, all documents must be originals - not copies or digital versions. Passports and identification cards must also be current, not expired.

Broadly, there are 3 categories of documents you will need:

  1. Citizenship
    • U.S. Birth Certificate (Original or Certified Copy)
    • U.S. Passport
  2. Age
    • U.S. Birth Certificate
    • If a birth certificate does not exist, the SSA may accept:
      • Religious records
      • Hospital records
      • U.S. Passport
  3. Identity
    • U.S. Driver's License (current, not expired)
    • State issued ID
    • U.S. Passport

You should also bring other relevant documents. Non-U.S. Citizens should bring their Resident Card, foreign passport, or Employment Authorization Document.

In unusual situations relevant support documents such as school records or religious records may be needed.

Visit the SSA website for the full list of required documents.

What Services Do SSA Offices Provide?

SSA Offices and Residence Offices services include, but are not limited to:

  • Apply for Social Security
  • Apply for Medicare
  • Apply for Disability
  • Get a new SSN number and card
  • Get a replacement SSN card
  • Change your SSN number (only allowed in certain cases such as severe identity theft)
  • Change name on Social Security Card
  • Change sex identification

Do I Need to Visit an SSA Office to Start Receiving Social Security Benefits?

No, you can apply for social security benefits online at

What SSA Services Can Be Completed Online?

Most SSA services are available online, including:

  • Applying for Social Security or Disability
  • Updating direct deposit info
  • Update or correct records

Visit to learn more.

How Do I Make an Appointment?

To make an appointment, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Monday to Friday 8:00am - 7:00pm ET.

How Do I Apply For Social Security Benefits?

Apply for Social Security Benefits.

How Do I Change my Name on my Social Security Card?

If you are recently married, divorced, adopted, or otherwise wish to change your name, you must update your Social Security Card.

You can change the name on your Social Security Card online or by visiting your local SSA office. The best route depends on your exact situation. See this SSA tool to determine the best way to go.

How Can I Change my Social Security Number?

In limited cases of severe identity theft individuals can get a new Social Security Number. This is uncommon. To do this, find your local SSA office and make an appointment.

If your SSN has been stolen, first set up Fraud Alerts with the credit score companies: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Monitor your credit closely going forward. Last, you should file a police report.

If you don't know you're Social Security Number there are a few ways to find it. First, try checking on your tax return, W-2, 1099, or other tax documents. Otherwise, request a new card from the SSA.

How Can I Get a New / Replacement Social Security Card?

If you Social Security Card has been lost or damaged, you can go to to request a new card.

This is also useful if you cannot find your Social Security Number.

How Do I Apply For Disability Benefits?

Click here to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.