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Resources > Education Center > How To Get My Kid’s Social Security Number—Application Process Explained

How To Get My Kid’s Social Security Number—Application Process Explained

A Social Security number (SSN) serves many purposes, especially during adulthood. If your child still doesn’t have one, you may wonder, how to get my kid’s Social Security number? 

Applying for a child’s SSN is relatively straightforward, though there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. This article will share all you need to know and answer some of the most important questions, including:

  • Is an SSN obligatory for children?
  • When and how to get your kid’s Social Security number
  • How to find your kid’s Social Security number if their card is lost
  • How to protect the child’s SSN (and why it’s necessary to do so)

Is It Necessary To Obtain a Social Security Number for a Child?

You’re not obligated to get an SSN for your child, but doing so while they’re still young is a good idea for various reasons. Your child will need it if you want to do any of the following:

  • Claim them as a dependent on tax returns
  • Open bank accounts for them
  • Obtain government benefits and medical coverage for the child

An SSN is used to track the holder’s income, credit, and numerous other information, so your child will need it anyway once they grow up and become independent. While they can apply for it on their own when they grow up, it’s better to get this process out of the way as soon as possible.

When Does a Child Get a Social Security Number?

Your child can get an SSN soon after they’re born if you decide to apply at the hospital. This is done through the application for their birth certificate, which will ask if you’d like to get the SSN immediately. 

If so, the process works as follows:

  1. You and your spouse provide your SSNs in the application (if possible)
  2. The state agency in charge of issuing birth certificates shares the information with the Social Security Administration (SSA)
  3. The SSA assigns the SSN and mails you the child’s Social Security card

If you choose not to get your child’s SSN at birth, you can do it later by contacting the SSA.

How To Get a Social Security Number for a Minor From the SSA

There are two ways to apply for an SSN in your child’s name:

  1. Submitting an online request
  2. Filling out and mailing the request in paper form

Online application is quite straightforward—all you have to do is visit the SSA’s portal, which will guide you through all the necessary steps. Note that you’ll also need to visit your local SSA office after submitting the request because the application must be completed in person.

Keep in mind that children who are 12 or older must visit the SSA’s office for an interview even though you’re obtaining the SSN in their name. While you can sign everything for the child, you can’t get an SSN without them present.

If you can’t access the online application page, you can fill out the SS-5 form and mail it alongside the necessary documentation to your local SSA office. The form contains all the relevant information, so make sure to read through the instructions before completing it.

The Documents Required for a Minor’s SSN

The most important documentation you’ll need when applying for an SSN in your child’s name is proof of their identity, age, and U.S. citizenship. You must submit at least two separate documents, which can include the following:

  • Birth certificate or passport
  • State-issued nondriver ID card
  • Adoption decree (for foster children)
  • Religious or certified medical records

You’ll also need to prove your own identity by submitting any of the following documents:

  • Driver’s license or state-issued non-driver ID card
  • Passport
  • Health insurance card
  • Certificate of U.S. citizenship

Note that the documentation can vary depending on your circumstances. You can contact the SSA by emailing them or calling 1-800-772-1213 to inquire about the specifics. Regardless of whatever you’re sending, all documents must be originals or certified copies.

How Long Does It Take To Receive Your Child’s SSN?

Once the SSA has reviewed your application and verified all of the documents, you should receive the child’s Social Security card and number within 14 days. Still, processing times can vary significantly between states—you can find more details below:

Source: Social Security Administration FAQs

After receiving your child’s Social Security card, you can refer to it whenever you need the child’s SSN for the aforementioned purposes.

How To Find a Social Security Number for a Child if the Card Is Lost

Losing your child’s Social Security card is quite inconvenient, especially if you haven’t memorized the SSN. You may find it on previous tax returns if you’ve claimed your child as a dependent since the IRS requires it for filing.

The good news—you can reach out to the SSA and request a replacement card. You get a maximum of three replacements per year and ten per lifetime, so keep this limit in mind.

Note that a replacement card doesn’t change the child’s number. Doing so is only allowed in a few instances, such as abuse or ongoing harm due to identity theft.

The latter scenario is disturbingly prevalent, as children’s SSNs are tempting to identity criminals who use them to either impersonate the child or combine their SSN with fake information to create a synthetic identity. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure adequate protection of your child’s Social Security card and number.

How To Safeguard Your Child’s SSN

An SSN only needs to be revealed in a handful of scenarios, so it’s best to store your child’s Social Security card at home and avoid carrying it with you. Both the card’s location and the number itself should be shared on a need-to-know basis, and it might be best to keep them a secret from your child until they’re mature and responsible enough to safeguard this information.

This is because identity criminals intentionally target children due to their lack of skepticism when it comes to sharing sensitive information. To reduce the risk of this happening to your child, teach them about the importance of ID security before entrusting them with their SSN.

You should also closely monitor your child’s SSN and other identifiers because child identity theft often goes unnoticed until a lot of damage has been done. The problem is—extensive monitoring requires tools unavailable to the general public and can be time-consuming.

If you need a helping hand, Austin Capital Bank offers a solution worth considering—FreeKick. FreeKick launches your children into adulthood with the dual advantages of strong credit and a clean protected identity.

Reduce the Risk of Identity Theft With FreeKick (Coming Soon)

FreeKick combines a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured (FDIC-insured) deposit account with:

  1. Identity monitoring for children and adults
  2. Credit building and credit profile monitoring for children aged 14–25

SSN Monitoring and Additional ID Security Services

If someone gets ahold of your child’s SSN, they can use it to open fraudulent credit accounts, obtain tax refunds, steal government benefits, and commit many other financial crimes. FreeKick aims to prevent this through Social Security number monitoring, a service that monitors all names, addresses, and aliases connected to your child’s SSN. This way, FreeKick offers proactive true-name and synthetic identity fraud detection.

FreeKick provides identity protection for both minors and adult children and parents. Every plan includes identity protection for up to two adult parents and six minor or adult children.

ID Protection Services for MinorsID Protection Services for Adult Children and Parents
Credit profile monitoring
Social Security number 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
Social Security number 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
Non-Credit (Payday) loan monitoring
Free FICO® Score monthly
FICO® Score factors
Experian credit report monthly

Credit Building and Credit Profile Monitoring

One of the main reasons your child will need an SSN is to start building a credit history. Besides helping secure their SSN, FreeKick lets your child step into adulthood with an established credit profile. FreeKick allows you to establish and build a strong credit profile for your children as young as 14 years old and up to 25 years old—it allows you to safely and reliably build credit without a credit card or encouraging borrowing. By building credit through saving, not spending, you’re establishing your child’s credit today for a lifetime of advantages while teaching them good financial habits.

All you need to do as a parent is select Activate Credit Building in your FreeKick account dashboard when your child turns 14. Once they are no longer a minor (age 18 in most states), all they need to do is pick Activate Credit Reporting on the profile. This will enable credit reporting, and a credit account for $1,000 will be reported to all three major consumer credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), alongside the account opening date, amount of credit, type of credit, and last 24 months of payment history, jumpstarting your child’s credit score. Note that FreeKick does not impact your credit report or score.

FreeKick Pricing

FreeKick offers an optional monthly savings plan account feature that builds payment history for your children while you save. Every monthly savings deposit builds payment history for your children, accelerating your child’s credit-building progress. Monthly payment history determines over a third (35%) of your child’s FICO credit score.

In contrast to most identity monitoring services, FreeKick doesn’t require monthly subscriptions. 

With FreeKick, you can use the savings you already have for your children to protect them and build their credit or get started with just a $10 deposit and a small annual fee.

All plans include premium identity protection for two parents and up to six children and credit building for up to six children aged 14 to 25. Check the table below for details:

DepositAnnual Fee
$3,000$0 (Free)

FreeKick deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

You can close the account before the 12-month period ends without early cancellation fees or penalties. However, due to credit bureaus’ restrictions, no credit can be reported for the account if your child is a minor at the time of closure.

Help your child build a remarkable credit profile and improve their ID security—sign up for FreeKick today.