Social Security Administration Clarification of Identification Requirements

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has made some recent changes to its identification requirements for individuals seeking a printout of their Social Security Number (SSN) as discussed in this letter.  USICH and SSA have received many questions and concerns regarding the impact of these new requirements of people experiencing homelessness, because of their difficulty obtaining forms of photo identification.  In response to these questions, SSA has provided the following clarification of its requirements: 

  • The identification requirements and interview techniques used to verify identity for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits have not changed and are not affected by the requirements for the SSN printout.
  • Beginning in June 2013 Social Security enhanced its identification requirements for individuals seeking an SSN Printout.  These requirements now mirror the requirements to obtain a replacement Social Security card.
  • Social Security does have other procedures in place to assist individuals who do not have acceptable proof of identification for obtaining an SSN printout or replacement Social Security card.
  • Acceptable documents to show proof of identity include, but are not limited to:

o   Unexpired Driver’s License

o   Unexpired State Identification Card

o   Valid and Unexpired U.S. Passport/Passport Card

o   U.S. military identification card

o   Current U.S. lawful alien document and an unexpired foreign passport

o   Certificate of Naturalization

o   Certificate of U. S. Citizenship

o   Certified copy of medical records (clinic, doctor, or hospital) or letter providing extract data from medical records showing the applicant’s name and date of birth or age

o   Health insurance or Medicaid card showing the applicant’s name and either a photograph of the person or the person’s date of birth

o   School identity card or certified school record or transcript showing the applicant’s name and either a photograph of the person or his/her date of birth

o   Life insurance policy showing the age or date of birth

  • If an individual does not have the necessary documentation to obtain a replacement Social Security card or SSN printout, the individual may request a computer extract of his/her Social Security Number Application with the SSN provided.  This is referred to as a copy of the Numident record, and a fee of $16 is charged for the request.  These requests are mailed to a central location, and it may take up to 60 days to receive a reply.
  • Employers can use Social Security Number Verification Serviceand Department of Homeland Security’s eVerifyService to verify an SSN or employment eligibility.
  • Private or government agencies can use Social Security’sConsent-Based SSN Verification Service. 

As a reminder, please remember that the Social Security card, not the SSN printout, is SSA's official verification of the SSN assigned to the individual named on the card. 

For any additional questions, please visit to find out how to contact SSA directly.