Transgender ID Project: Updating Your Social Security Records
Changing Your Name and Gender Marker on Your Social Security Record
The SS-5 Application for a Social Security Card form is used to change your name and gender marker on your social security record. Note that your card only lists your name; gender markers are kept in a computer file.
To change your name on your social security record, you need:
- Name Change Order
To change your gender marker on your social security record, you need:
Any of the following:
- A signed letter from a physician confirming you had the appropriate clinical treatment (see more about this below); OR
- A birth certificate showing the correct gender; OR
- A court order recognizing the correct gender (note that the Name Change Order does not satisfy this requirement); OR
- A U.S. Passport showing the correct gender
To submit your SS-5 form and documentation:
- We recommend submitting this form and the required documents in person at your local Social Security office.
- If you choose to mail the documents, you can find your local office here.
- For more information, visit the National Center for Transgender Equality’s website.
Physician Letter for Gender Marker Change
A letter from your physician is one way you can change your gender marker on your Social Security record.
This letter is a template that you can provide to your physician. We recommend that they do not change the core text of the letter unless they have an objection to any specific content. Most physicians who serve the trans community will be familiar with this template.
The letter must:
- Be signed by a physician (not a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner)
- Be printed on letterhead from the physician’s office
- Include the physician’s full name, address, and telephone number
- Include the physician’s medical license or certificate number and the issuing state or jurisdiction
- Include language stating that:
- They have treated you, or have reviewed and evaluated your medical history
- You have had “appropriate clinical treatment” for gender transition
- There is no required standard clinical treatment, but the physician still needs to include that language
- Include, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the foregoing is true and correct.”
Updated September 2021