Family Law : Changing Social Security Number

Why is a Social Security number important?

A Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services. Many other businesses, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for your number.

Can I change my Social Security number so that my abuser cannot use it to find me or my children?

Yes, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may assign a new Social Security number (SSN) to victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault. To do so, you should visit your local Social Security office and fill out a request for change of SSN.

What documents do I need to change my Social Security number?

You should also bring the following documents with you to the Social Security office:

  • original documents establishing your age, identity and U.S. citizenship or lawful non-citizen status, such as a birth certificate and a driver’s license;

  • your current Social Security number;

  • one or more documents identifying you by both your old and new names if you have previously changed your name;

  • custody papers for children that are requesting new SSNs; and

  • evidence documenting the harassment or abuse.

What should I know before changing my SSN?

Changing your SSN may enhance your safety by making it more difficult for your abuser to find you and your family. However, there are potential drawbacks to changing your SSN, including possible loss of credit and other histories; loss of professional and/or educational credentials; interactions with mutual parties (parties known to the abuser and victim/survivor); or difficulties in getting jobs, buying a house, or even renting an apartment.

For further information, see the SSA Provides Assistance to Victims of Domestic Violence and the New Numbers For Domestic Violence Victims on the SSA website.

Other relocation strategies that may be employed by victims of domestic violence include:

  • Using P. O. boxes or a service such as Mailboxes Etc. for mail;

  • Using “Virtual Voicemail” phone numbers such as www.golden-voice.com, www.messagingservice.com, or www.voicemailoffice.com;

  • Renting where utilities are included in the rent;

  • Asking the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to print a P. O. box address on your driver’s license;

  • Checking voter registration policies; and

  • Speaking with schools, churches, etc. about your and your children’s confidentiality issues.

Obtaining new SSNs for children involves the same considerations and relevant documentation requirements as obtaining an SSN for yourself. However, an applicant for a minor child must prove sole custody of the children (designation as the residential parent and legal custodian of the child).

For more information on domestic violence visit the Ohio Domestic Violence Resource Center.

See also the Forms & Education tab in this section for more information.

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