While not as ubiquitous as it once was, many women still change their names when they marry – they adopt their spouse’s surname, hyphenate their two last names or take on some other variant. If you changed your name when you married or are changing your name as the result of a divorce, make sure you update the change with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Whether you’ve taken your spouse’s last name, hyphenated the two names or selected some other combination, you must notify the SSA. When you change your name back to your prior name after your divorce, you’ll again need to notify the SSA. To do so, you’ll need to file a form SS-5, the Application for a Social Security Card. You will need to provide documentation that proves your identity, supports your requested change and establishes the reason you wish to change your name.
If you are changing your name due to divorce, the SSA will only accept an original or certified copy of your divorce decree. If you do not have either the original or a certified copy, you can request one from the state or country recorder where your divorce was finalized. File the form with your additional documentation at your local SSA office (you can find yours here) or mail all applicable paperwork to your local SSA office. Be sure to use a receipt-based, traceable system if you choose to mail the documents, so you can find them if they go missing during transit. The original documents will be returned to you, and you should receive your updated Social Security card within 10 business days from the date on your receipt.