How Does Social Security Office Know If You Are Married or Divorced?
Updated October 14, 2019
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The Social Security Administration (SSA) is an organization that issues your Social Security Card. The number on your Social Security Card is yours alone; no one else has the same number as you. The Social Security Administration does not keep track of your personal life; when you become married or divorced the agency is not notified of the change in your legal status unless you change your name and notify the agency yourself. The SSA receives no notification of your marital status unless notified by you; however, you only have to notify the agency if your name changes.
Changing Your Name Upon Marriage
Once you are married and decide to take on the name of your new spouse it is your duty to notify the Social Security Administration. You must obtain a new Social Security Card stating your new name. The SSA will find out you are married when you file form SS-5 along with a certified copy of your marriage certificate. The SSA then notifies the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of your name change.
However, unless you file an SS-5 form with the SSA, the agency remains unaware of your marital status.
Changing Your Name After Divorce
Divorcing your spouse is something the SSA only needs to know if you change your name back to your maiden name. The process of notifying the SSA of your divorce is identical to the process used to notify the SSA of your marital name change after your wedding. You will file an SS-5 form along with a copy of your divorce decree to obtain a new Social Security Card with your maiden name.
Internal Revenue Service
The Social Security Administration will not find out about your change in marital status from the Internal Revenue Service, but if you change your name and fail to notify the SSA you will face financial issues. When your income tax return is filed, the IRS confirms your Social Security Number with the Social Security Administration.
If the name on your income tax return does not match the name on your Social Security Card your income tax return is not accepted by the Internal Revenue Service. This could result in delays in receiving your tax refund or penalties if your return is denied and then considered late.
Notifying Employers About Marriage or Divorce
Should you become married or divorced and change your name, you must notify your employer. Your employer must have your legal name to issue paychecks to you. A portion of your paycheck is removed for Social Security tax, which is sent to the SSA. If your employer pays your Social Security taxes to the SSA using your new name, there could be complications with your tax payments.
The forms your employer files when sending your Social Security tax payments to the SSA include your Social Security Number and your name. If you neglect to inform the SSA of your name change, your SS tax payments may not be accepted.
No Name Change Upon Marriage or Divorce
Should you become married or divorced and not change your name, there is no need to notify the Social Security Administration of your marital status. Your name remains the same so it will always match the name on your Social Security Card.
This article was written by Legal Beagle staff. If you have any questions, please reach out to us on our contact us page.