NJ: The Names on My Birth Certificate and Social Security Card Are Different

If the name on your birth certificate is different from the name on your social security card, there’s no need to be alarmed because there are clear, straightforward solutions. It’s definitely best to straighten out any inconsistencies as soon as possible and a qualified lawyer can help. 

What to Do if They Differ

Differences in personal information on important documents may present problems when trying to renew your driver’s license or file your tax returns, for example. Having consistency among your documents is also critical for employment; it’s important to ensure that the information on your Social Security card matches your employer’s payroll records and your W-2 form.

Changing your name on your Social Security card

If you are looking to change the name on your Social Security card to match the name on your birth certificate or a new legal name, the first thing you should do is call Social Security to notify them of this discrepancy and discuss the issue with one of its representatives.

After doing so, you will have to get a new Social Security card. This requires filling out a SS-5 form and providing it to your local SSA office along with proof of identity and documentation of a name change. The SSA website details what you need to get a new or corrected card.

Changing your name on your birth certificate or obtaining a new legal name

If you want to change your name on your birth certificate, the most effective way to do so would be to legally change your name through a court order. These name changes are filed in the district court of the county where you reside. You can contact your district court to obtain the forms necessary to complete the process. The cost of a legal name change varies depending on the county. Once your Petition for a Name Change has been completed, your case will be presented to a judge for approval and signature. 

How to Change your Name in New Jersey 

Attorney help. The legal name change process is detailed and the steps must be done in the right order. If one of the steps isn’t done correctly, or out of order, the petition can be dismissed which means you may have to start over which would delay the process by months or longer. Having an experienced attorney guide you in completing and filing your paperwork will lessen your chances of overlooking a mistake, which can cost you time you may not have. They can assess your situation to determine how best to present the case for the name change, as well as minimize the amount of work involved. 

The basic steps are as follows:

Fill out the forms. There are two important sets of documents that a person must complete to change their names in NJ. The first is the New Jersey Name Change Packet, which includes forms to indicate what name one wishes to go by and to order a hearing before a judge. The second is the Civil Case Information Statement. If you hire an attorney, they will complete these forms. It is important that you keep one copy of each form for your own records and include an additional copy along with the original documents which will be sent to the court.

File the forms. The forms should be sent to the Superior Court of the county where you live, either by mail or in person. Make sure to include a check or money order for $250 made out to “Treasurer, State of New Jersey,” as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope for the court to return the forms to you.

Notify required persons. If you have pending criminal charges in New Jersey, you must notify the law enforcement agency that is prosecuting the case of your intent to change your name, at least 20 days before the hearing.

Attend the court hearing. At your court hearing, bring copies of all documents in order to accurately answer questions the judge may have. The court hearing is also where having an attorney can be the most helpful, as they can handle some of the questions the judge may ask and issue responses that are likely to persuade the judge to make a favorable ruling. The judge will rule whether or not the name change will be allowed, and a final judgment will be sent in the mail. 

Notify other government agencies. There are four agencies you must notify once a name change has been granted in NJ: The Social Security Administration (SSA), the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), the NJ Treasury Department, and the Registrar of Vital Statistics or Department of Health in the capital of the state in which one was born. To do this, you must order two certified copies of the final judgment (with raised seals) from the court. The SSA and MVC must be notified in person. For SSA, the final judgment and current social security card must be brought. Drivers must notify the MVC of a name change within two weeks by bringing a certified copy of the final judgment and one’s current driver’s license (with the old name) to the MVC. The Treasury Department can be notified by mail. One must send a copy of the certified final judgment and a check for $50 within 45 days of the ruling. The other copy of the certified final judgment should be mailed to the Registrar of Vital Statistics or Department of Health.

Our Attorneys Can Help

If you live in New Jersey and would like to change your name in order to correct a discrepancy in important personal documents, contact the lawyers of the Rosenblum Law. Our attorneys have years of experience helping people with a name change and other complicated legal matters. Call today at 888-815-3649 for a free consultation.

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