Hand’s up everyone who loves taking a trip down to any government office. Not many takers? It’s not surprising because most government departments are not renowned for their speed and service delivery. Except for the IRS – that agency is ruthlessly efficient, unfortunately.
So, if you have to get a new Social Security card or a replacement one, you’re probably not looking forward to dealing with the Social Security Administration. In principle, it’s simple enough – complete the application, add in the supporting documents and send everything through.
In principle, you’ll get your card within two weeks. That’s assuming, of course, that you don’t make any mistakes on the form, and that you send submit all the documents required. Make one simple mistake, and you’re guaranteed to have the application denied. You get to start all over again.
It Can’t Be That Hard, Surely?
Again, in theory, it isn’t hard. If you have a good grip on how government forms work, and you can interpret the list of documents that you need to provide, you’re all set. But here’s the rub – you’re not dealing with a consumer-centric organization in the SSA.
They are not interested in fussing with applications incorrectly completed or those with missing documents. Their primary purpose in reviewing the documents is to make sure that they’re legitimate and complete. There’s no room for error here as there is a lot of fraud.
It could be in the form of claiming benefits that the applicant is not entitled to or trying to claim benefits in someone else’s name fraudulently.
So, while it’s annoying for a law-abiding citizen, there’s a pretty good reason for all of the red tape.
But Can’t I Apply Online?
You can, if you qualify, live in a state that is part of the program, and have your state-issued identification card or driver’s license. But this service is limited to replacement cards where nothing else has changed. So, if you’ve gotten divorced and are reverting to your maiden name, you can’t apply online.
Well, I Can Go to the Office
Yes, you can go to the office, and they will assist you there. Maybe you’ll get lucky, and the queues won’t be very long. But figure on at least two trips – the first to find out what supporting documents you need, and the second to take in all those documents.
The downside is that the supporting docs are not always things that you carry with you. You’ll need to provide two separate forms of ID, like your state-issued ID, or your driver’s license. Which is fine, but also, you’ll need to prove that you’re a citizen.
Now, we’re not sure about you, but as a rule, we keep things like our passport and birth certificate safely in the bank safety deposit box. They’re not something that we carry with us often.
As a way to short-circuit the process, you can make use of an online application assistance service.
You’ll still need to get the documents together and make sure they’re submitted, but the firm will assist you in completing the application correctly and tell you exactly what forms to take with you.
It’s like having a little cheat sheet for getting your Social Security card. Sure, you can find all the information that you need online if you have the time and energy to look for it, but who wants the bother?