A child needs a Social Security number if he or she is going to have a bank account, if a relative is buying savings bonds for the child, if the child will have medical coverage, or if the child will receive government services. You’ll also need a Social Security number for a child to claim him or her on your tax returns.
The application for a Social Security number and card is sometimes overlooked in the paperwork that parents fill out in preparation for a child’s birth. Typically, the hospital will ask new mothers if they want to apply for a Social Security number for their newborn as part of the birth registration process. This is the easiest and fastest way to apply. The Social Security card typically arrives about a week to ten days after the baby is born. You can learn about Social Security numbers for children by reading a Social Security publication, Social Security Numbers for Children.
If you wait to apply, you will have to visit a Social Security office and you’ll need to:
- Complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5);
- Show original documents proving your child’s U.S. citizenship, age, and identity; and
- Show documents proving your identity.
A child age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for the interview, even though a parent or guardian will sign the application on the child’s behalf.
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- Ask students if Social Security is only meant for the elderly and the disabled persons.
- What is the procedure to apply for a Social Security Number if a parent does not apply for it when the child is born?
- Why is it important to apply for a Social Security Number at child’s birth?
- Does Social Security benefit only retired people? Why or why not?