How Do You Do a Social Security Number Lookup?

Social Security card holders or their representatives can look up forgotten numbers or replace lost cards by applying in person with required documents at a Social Security office. Employers or organizations needing to verify Social Security numbers can use an online verification service provided by the Social Security Administration.

Social Security number card holders who have lost their cards and forgotten their numbers cannot look up their numbers or apply for replacement cards online. If you need a new card, download, print and fill out Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, and bring it in person or mail it to the local Social Security office along with two separate documents to prove citizenship and identity. Provide proof of citizenship such as a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S. passport, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Certificate of Naturalization or a Certificate of Citizenship. Provide photo identification such as a U.S. driver's license, a non-driver state ID card or other acceptable photo ID cards. Those applying on behalf of others must provide evidence of their relationship with the cardholder and proof of identity.

The Social Security Administration allows employers, accountants, tax preparers, payroll agents and organizations to verify that names and Social Security numbers provided by employees for wage reporting on W-2 forms are legitimate. It is illegal to use the Social Security number verification service for identity checks, mortgage applications, credit checks and other purposes. Users register through Business Services Online on the Social Security Administration website.