Social Security gives us assurance against certain social conditions that may occur, such as retirement or the sudden death of a bread winner. It's funded through dedicated payroll taxes known as the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) [source: SSA]. Everyone must apply for a Social Security number, which becomes his identification number. You will need this number every time you apply for any official document, such as a driver's license, passport, etc. You will need it when you want to open a bank account. It will also become your personal Tax Identification Number for use by the Internal Revenue Service [source: IRS]. Should your Social Security card get lost or be stolen, you will need to replace it. The good news is that there's no charge for getting a replacement Social Security card.

Here's how to get a copy of your Social Security card.

  • Complete an SS-5 application for a Social Security card. You can obtain a copy of the application online at http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.html.
  • Prove who you are by providing a recently issued official document, such as a driver's license.
  • Provide proof of citizenship [source: Lawyers].
  • Mail your application to your local Social Security office, or bring it in in person. Of course, any documents you include with the application will be returned to you [source: SSA].

You will receive your new Social Security card within about two weeks [source: SSA].