Login Identity Protection Build Credit Pricing Employers Support Schools Parents PTAs PTOs and Education Foundations  Superintendents, Business Officers, and School Boards Resources About Us Contact Us Education Center Press Releases In the News FAQ
Resources > Education Center > How To Get a New Social Security Number for an Adopted Child—A Complete Guide

How To Get a New Social Security Number for an Adopted Child—A Complete Guide

As an adoptive parent, obtaining a Social Security number (SSN) for your adopted child is one of the crucial steps following adoption. An SSN grants them access to services like getting medical care, opening a bank account, applying for a driver’s license or state ID, and even filing taxes.

If you’re unsure how to get a new Social Security number for an adopted child, we’ve got you covered—our comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of obtaining an SSN for your adopted child. We’ll cover what documents you’ll need, how to apply, and what steps to take after completing the application.

Why Getting a New SSN for Your Adopted Child Is Crucial

Having an SSN is more than a bureaucratic requirement—it plays a vital role in safeguarding the welfare of your adopted child. Getting an SSN for an adopted child will help you do any of the following:

  • Register your child as a dependent when filing taxes
  • Open a bank account in your child’s name
  • Invest in savings bonds for your child’s future financial needs
  • Initiate a college savings plan for your child’s educational pursuits
  • Ensure your child has access to healthcare coverage
  • Make your child eligible for state or federal government assistance programs

What Paperwork Is Needed To Apply for an SSN for an Adopted Child?

When getting an SSN for an adopted child, it’s important to gather all the required documents to confirm the child’s identity and eligibility for an SSN. Here are the key documents you’ll need:

  • Adoption finalization document—You must have a court order or adoption decree that finalizes the adoption. This document serves as evidence that the child has been legally adopted
  • Child’s birth certificate—This document is necessary to establish your child’s identity and date of birth
  • Proof of identity for adoptive parents—It’s necessary to provide identification paperwork for both parents, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID card. These documents are required to prove the parent’s identity and relationship with the child
  • Child immigration documents (if applicable)—If your adopted child isn’t a U.S. citizen, you’ll need to provide immigration documents like a resident card (green card) or visa. These documents are crucial for verifying your child’s immigration status

To make sure the application process is smooth and efficient, ensure you gather all the paperwork in advance. Once you have all the documents, you can proceed to the next step of applying for an SSN for an adopted child.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining a Social Security Number for an Adopted Child

If your child received an SSN before being adopted, you can apply for a new one. Many parents choose this to protect their child’s identity, as a brand new SSN shields the child from any risks their previous SSN may have been exposed to. While some parents may want to obtain it immediately, it’s advisable to wait until you have the updated birth certificate so that the details match the ones on the Social Security card. Here’s a step-by-step guide to simplify the application process:

  1. Gather all the necessary documents—Before starting the application process, ensure you have all the necessary documents, including the adoption decree, birth certificate, parental identification, and child immigration documents if your child was adopted from another country
  2. Complete Form SS-5—This form is the application for acquiring an SSN, and you can find it on the Social Security Administration (SSA) website. Complete all sections providing the child’s personal information, parent’s details, and any other necessary data
  3. Submit application and documentation—Submit the completed SS-5 form and the originals or certified copies of all the necessary documents at the SSA office
  4. Await confirmation—Once your application is approved, a new Social Security card will be sent to the address you provided on the form. Typically, this process takes 6–12 weeks, although there may be delays due to busy periods or special circumstances. If any issues arise with your application, the SSA will contact you directly

How To Protect Your Adopted Child’s SSN

After receiving an SSN for your adopted child, you should take precautions to safeguard it. Regrettably, children’s SSNs are more susceptible to identity theft—and foster or adopted children are especially vulnerable due to their personal information passing through multiple hands and systems, which increases the risk of exposure or mishandling. Here are five vital tips to help you safeguard your adopted child’s SSN:

  1. Securely store important documents
  2. Limit SSN sharing 
  3. Regularly monitor credit reports
  4. Educate your child on digital security
  5. Invest in a paid identity theft protection service

Securely Store Important Documents

It’s important to store any documents containing your child’s SSN—such as their Social Security card or adoption paperwork—in a secure location like a filing cabinet, a home safe, or even a safe deposit box at a bank. Physical documents can easily get lost, stolen, or accessed by unauthorized individuals if not properly secured. By keeping these documents locked, you significantly reduce the risk of someone stealing your child’s SSN through these materials.

Limit SSN Sharing

Only share your child’s SSN when necessary, like when enrolling your child in school or extracurricular activities or for tax purposes. Always inquire about the reasons behind the SSN requirement and the possibility of using alternative methods of identification. The more the SSN is shared, the greater the risk of it being compromised or mishandled. By limiting sharing, you’re minimizing the opportunities for identity thieves to obtain this number.

Regularly Monitor Credit Reports

Consider using a credit monitoring service or periodically requesting a credit report for your child. The three major credit bureaus offer free annual reports:

  1. Equifax
  2. Experian
  3. TransUnion

Identity thieves often target children’s SSNs due to their clean credit records. Since your child can’t access credit until they’re at least 16 years old, any credit profile activity can be a sign of SSN misuse. What’s even more worrying is that this can go unnoticed until the child reaches adulthood and faces difficulties. Fortunately, regular monitoring can ensure early detection of any suspicious activity.

Educate Your Child on Digital Security

As your child grows, it’s crucial to teach them about the significance of safeguarding their privacy and the potential dangers of disclosing personal details such as their SSN online. This encompasses understanding how phishing scams work, being cautious when receiving friend requests from individuals, and using unique passwords for their online accounts.

Younger children and teenagers may not fully comprehend the seriousness of sharing private information. By educating them on this matter, you can help prevent the disclosure of any details that cybercriminals could exploit.

Invest in a Paid Identity Theft Protection Service

With cybercrime getting increasingly sophisticated, it’s wise to consider adding an extra layer of security. You might want to think about subscribing to identity theft protection services that are specifically designed to safeguard minors. These services help keep an eye on databases and sources to detect any unauthorized use of your child’s SSN. Make sure that the service you opt for also provides restoration assistance and can guide you through the steps in case child identity theft occurs.

Besides protecting your child’s personal information, you should also think about ensuring they have a stable financial future—and FreeKick can help with both.

Parent-Sponsored Credit Monitoring and Building With FreeKick

As cyber threats and identity theft are on the rise, FreeKick provides a sense of relief for parents. Powered by Austin Capital Bank, FreeKick offers a solution that can not only protect your and your adopted child’s personal information but also help them establish a strong credit profile.

Reduce SSN Identity Theft Risks With FreeKick (Coming Soon)

To ensure comprehensive ID monitoring, FreeKick offers a range of services specifically designed for children, young adults, and their parents. 

The following table showcases the services offered in each plan:

Identity Protection Services for MinorsIdentity Protection Services for Adult Children and Parents
Credit profile monitoring
SSN monitoring
Dark Web monitoring for child’s personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Sex offender monitoring—based on sponsor parent’s address
Credit profile monitoring
SSN monitoring
Dark Web monitoring for personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Lost wallet protection
Court records monitoring
Change of address monitoring
Free FICO® Score monthly
FICO® Score factors
Experian credit report monthly
Non-Credit (Payday) loan monitoring

Note that every plan covers two parents and six children (minors or legal adults).

Secure Your Child’s Financial Future With FreeKick’s Credit-Building Features

In addition to securing your adopted child’s SSN, FreeKick will also help you start investing in their financial future. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create an Account—Go to FreeKick.bank and choose the plan that suits you. Click on Activate Credit Building in the account dashboard
  2. Set It and Forget It—FreeKick offers a loan with no interest to build your child’s credit history over 12 months without needing your involvement
  3. Keep Growing—Once the first term is completed, you can choose to continue with another term, allowing FreeKick to further improve your child’s credit for up to 48 months

FreeKick offers different plans for every budget, and you don’t have to think about tiring monthly subscriptions—check out the plans below:

DepositAnnual Fee
$3,000$0 (Free)

In case you don’t want to renew the account for another term, you have the option to close it before the 12-month period ends without incurring any cancellation fees. However, closing your account will result in the termination of all monitoring services. If you cancel your plan before your child reaches adulthood and activates credit reporting, no account credit will be reported because credit bureaus only accept credit reporting for adults.

Don’t leave your child’s identity and future to chance—secure their personal information and build their credit effortlessly—sign up for FreeKick today.