General Question

spendy's avatar

Can someone really just change their name with SS?

Asked by spendy (1446points) May 16th, 2008

An in-law of mine told me her parents changed her name with Social Security when she was little, but never had it legally changed. She always had trouble with school, and hit a few bumps in the military but she was always able to get things worked out. Shouldn’t they still have changed her name legally? She said her step-dad never officially adopted her, she just carried his name. Is that even allowed?

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6 Answers

cheebdragon's avatar

yes, same thing happened to my cousin but it only became a problem when he joined the military.

Breefield's avatar

My name is Dustin Hoffman.
Should I keep it?

Randy's avatar

The man I call my dad isn’t my biological father. My dad married my mom when I was 4, and after the wedding, my parents never had the money to get me adopted, but I used his last name anyways. Anytime somebody needed to see my birth certificate or social security card, I would just explain the story and it was no big deal. Of course when I was 18, I changed my last name myself.

I also tried to join the military (key word-tried, but that’s a different story) and all I had to do was ask my mom for my biological fathers name.

DeezerQueue's avatar

People use aliases all the time, a lot of problems arise from motive. At some point, one may be required to provide legal proof of a name change and that’s when problems may arise. Marriage and divorce can sometimes present problems. Although a marriage certificate is not in fact a document that explicitly states a change in name, it is widely accepted and sometimes a statutorily afforded status that a person is now entitled to use another name. Other documents may be issued with the accepted change in name, such as social security cards, drivers’ licenses and so on. Your birth certificate, however, is one document that will not be changed to reflect the status of your name change.

When divorcing, the issue will again be addressed in the divorce decree, legally changing the name back to the original. If it isn’t, then the married name could well be the new and permanent name of the divorcee unless addressed at a later time or if it is statutorily afforded.

Most likely in the state in which she resides it’s not allowed, a formal decree of adoption will need to have been entered in order to effect a legal name change. It depends upon each institution and their requirements.

It may also lead to unnecessary problems in matters of inheritance.

But in the end she most likely will not have problems unless her use of an alias derives from criminal or fraudulent motives. The military does not take kindly to any kind of fraud and may be grounds for dismissal should they find out the truth.

spendy's avatar

@Deezer, no problems with the military. She would never have been given clearance to work in her department otherwise…she was one level above Top Secret (working in space command) before she mustered out. I just don’t know the details of how all of her paperwork is justified and it didn’t make sense to me that her parents would have ONLY changed her name with Social Security, which is what she’s told me. It doesn’t seem quite right. But I guess military clearance means she was able to prove her identity somehow. She just never said whether or not there were legal issues, regarding the process. I didn’t ask.

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