Changing with the Times: Social Security Adopts Gender Self-Attestation Policy

January 3, 2023

Gender identity is at the very core of how we see ourselves, and acceptance of gender self-attesting is growing.

Now, under new guidelines, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is changing with the times.

All individuals will now be allowed to self-attest to their gender, to make sure that their records with the SSA align with their gender identity.

Self-attestation is when the information that someone reports on a document doesn’t need verification by a secondary source. Self-attestation is generally already used on state IDs and licenses for information such as height, weight, hair color and eye color.

Kilolo Kijakazi, the SSA’s acting commissioner, said the new policy is part of a “commitment to decrease administrative burdens and ensure people who identify as gender diverse or transgender have options in the Social Security Number card application process.”

Those who wish to revise their Social Security records to update their gender must apply for a replacement Social Security card. They will still need to show a current document to prove their identity, but under this new policy they will no longer need to provide medical or legal documentation of their gender designation.

Here are the steps to follow to update your sex marker in Social Security Number (SSN) records:

1. Find your Local SSA Field Office
2. Apply for a replacement SSN card
3. Show a current document to prove your identity (i.e., U.S. passport, U.S. driver’s license, or state-issued, non-driver identification card)

The agency will accept the applicant’s self-identified sex designation of either male or female, even if it is different from the sex designation shown on identity documents.

4. Your SSN record will be updated.

a. You may choose to have your SSN card be reissued if it was lost.
b. Or, you can keep your current card. (SSN cards do not include sex markers.)

Social Security is seeking feedback as the agency explores future policy changes to support an “X” sex designation for the SSN card application process, which would permit any U.S. citizen (not only those who are non-binary, intersex, or gender-nonconforming) to opt out of sharing their gender by choosing an X.