Can I change my CPR number?
Can I change my CPR number?

Can I change my CPR number?

Most of us are assigned a CPR number at birth and keep it for the rest of our lives. It’s probably one of the few long numbers you can recite from the top of your head.

But can you change your CPR number?

In general, the Social Security Administration discourages people from changing their numbers because it creates confusion in tabulating and distributing benefits.

You cannot change your CPR number just because you want to or because your card has been lost or stolen. However, the agency makes exceptions in a small number of cases – such as if you are a victim of domestic abuse or identity theft – and can prove that using your existing number is causing you harm.

Changing your CPR number does not automatically mean that an addict will not be able to find you or that a criminal will no longer be able to steal your identity. So it is worth thinking carefully before applying for a new one.

Here’s what you need to know about getting a new CPR number, including the reasons why it is allowed, the process involved and other options available.

When can you change your CPR number?

The Social Security Administration will assign a new number if:

  • More than one person is assigned or uses the same number.
  • Running numbers assigned to members of the same family cause problems.
  • You are a victim of ongoing identity theft by someone using the original number.
  • You are being harassed or abused, or your life is in danger.
  • There is a religious or cultural objection to numbers in the original issue. (In this case, written documentation in support of the objection from the religious group with which you have an established relationship must accompany your application).

How do I apply for a new CPR number?

You can not do it online – you have to submit a new one Form SS-5 in person at the nearest social security office. (Check this site for a list of Social Security Administration field offices.)

Applicants are asked to submit a statement explaining the reasons for needing a new number as well as “current, credible third-party evidence documenting the reasons for needing a new number,” according to the Social Security Administration.

If you are a US citizen, you must bring one too two original documents to determine your age, identity and citizenship status – such as a passport, birth certificate or driving license – as well as proof of a legal name change, if applicable. (Photocopies or notarized copies are not accepted.)

Non-nationals must show current immigration documents, which could include an I-94, Arrival / Departure Journal or Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Check with the Social Security Administration for adequate documentation before entering. You can visit the agency’s website or call 800-772-1213.

Victims of domestic violence must submit documentation

If you have been the victim of abuse or harassment, fill out a statement explaining why you need a new issue and provide evidence of the abuse – such as police reports, restraining orders, medical records and letters from shelters, counselors or others with direct knowledge about the situation. (Social security can help you gather evidence.)

“Sometimes the best way to evade an addict and reduce the risk of further violence is to relocate and establish a new identity,” according to the Social Security booklet New figures for victims of domestic violence.

“Although we do not routinely assign new numbers, we will do so when evidence shows that you are being harassed or abused or your life is in danger.”

If you change your name as part of your new identity, Social Security recommends doing so first so that you can present the court’s approval of the name change. The agency must also see custody documentation for all children for whom you are also requesting new numbers.

In case of identity theft, you need to prove ongoing fraud

While it is possible to change your CPR number, it may not solve your problem.

John Sommer / Getty Images

In addition to proving ongoing fraud, you must also prove that you continue to suffer damage, such as repeated hits to your credit rating, and that you have tried all other methods to solve the problem.

It includes reporting the situation to Federal Trade Commissioncontacts the tax authorities and lodge a complaint with Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Even if you get a new CPR number, your old one will not be ‘deleted’

The new number is cross-referenced to the original to ensure that all earnings under both numbers are credited to the same account. So getting a new number may not solve the situation you are in.

“Applying for a new number is a big decision. Your ability to interact with federal and state agencies, employers and others may be affected,” according to the Social Security website. “If you change your name, financial, medical, employment and other records will be under your previous SSN and name.”

Are there other options instead of getting a new CPR number?

Alternatively, you can put a “block” on your existing number. It prevents anyone – including you – from accessing your information online or by phone.

If you want a block removed, contact Social Security and confirm your identity.

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