Family & Relationships

How to Get a Social Security Number for Your Newborn

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As a new parent, your to-do list can be overwhelming and it can be hard to know where to start. One of the first things you’ll want to check off is obtaining a Social Security number for your child.

Here’s why your child should have a Social Security number and how to get them one.

Why your child should have a Social Security number

Technically, you don’t have to get your newborn a Social Security number. But they’ll need one if you want to:

  • Claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return.
  • Open a bank account in their name.
  • Buy savings bonds for them.
  • Get medical coverage for the child.
  • Apply for any kind of government services for your child.

Apply for a Social Security number at the hospital

The easiest way to get your child assigned a Social Security number is to apply shortly after the birth while you’re still at the hospital. It doesn’t cost anything and most medical providers have the necessary paperwork. During your stay, you’ll be asked to provide information for your baby’s birth certificate. At that point, you’ll also be asked whether you want to apply for a Social Security number for your baby. If you say “yes,” you need to provide each parent’s Social Security number.

If you wait to apply

If you don’t apply for your child’s Social Security number while you’re in the hospital, you’ll need to complete an application for a Social Security card at a local Social Security office. Keep in mind there may be delays while your child’s birth certificate is verified. To complete the application, you’ll need to show original documents proving your child’s U.S. citizenship, age and identity, as well as your relationship to the child.

If your child is adopted

The Social Security Administration can assign your adopted child a Social Security number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait until the adoption is finalized. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name, with your name as parent. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions.

Getting a Social Security number for your child is just one of the many legal issues you’ll need to address for your child as they grow up. But you got this. And ARAG is here to help protect what’s most important to you.

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