I am unable to receive my retirement benefits due to the different names on my passport and on my other identifications.

Question & AnswerQuestion:  I immigrated to America 40 years ago and I am a naturalized citizen. The name that is on my passport is the same as my name on my birth certificate. I changed my name over the 40 years of being in America. I do not use my original name anymore. Every piece of legal identification that I have is in my new name. I am having a hard time receiving my retirement benefits. This is due to the fact of the different names on my passport and on my other identifications. Will I be able to use any other identifications such as, my driver’s license, as proof for my new name change? Will I have to go through court to change my name legally before changing it on my passport?

Answer:  Different names on important pieces of identification can cause issues with receiving retirement benefits. Technically, you will not need to go through the court to change your name on your passport, though it is a recommendation by lawyers to do so.

If you have been using your new name for five or more years, then you can request a passport in that name.

You must provide at least three pieces of acceptable identification to complete the name change. Any three of the documentations listed below are acceptable:

  • Insurance Records
  • Medicare Records
  • Deeds of Property
  • Military Records
  • Federal, State or Local Government Cards
  • Tax Records
  • Bank Books
  • Employment Records
  • Driver’s License
  • Early School Records

Accompanying these three identifications, will be a “Statement of Witness in Support of Change of Name”. Two or more people must attest that you use your new name exclusively for at least the last five years.

So, any witnesses will have to be present with you at the passport office. They must have their statements sworn in front of Consular Officer. These witnesses can be friends, relatives, or co-workers. Also, you will be sworn in to confirm the use of your new name. Witnesses should bring photo identification with them. Affidavits are given at no cost.