It’s another added challenge created by the pandemic.
Even in normal times, newlywed brides say changing their last name can be a hassle. That issue is compounded with social security offices still closed nationwide.
“Of course like any new bride I was extremely excited to get the last name changed,” said Deborah Olson.
But she found out in order to do so required her to mail in sensitive documents, like her driver’s license or passport, as well as the original marriage license.
“I greatly questioned this because you’re always told not to mail important documents,” Olson said. “It’s very unnerving. I do not understand why their office is not open, especially when the Department of Motor Vehicles, clerk of courts and other businesses are open. There’s clearly precautions they can take.”
Deborah’s worries are common, but those at the state level are trying to calm concerns.
“Using the mail is generally safe,” said Lara Sutherlin, administrator with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “You can use things like certified mail or registered mail that allows for tracking your documents.”
Sutherlin says you can use other services, such as UPS or FedEx, which is what Deborah chose to do.
Sending the documents in the mail, however, is far from efficient.
Deborah says she had her documents returned to her after 12 days, though it could be another two weeks until she receives her new social security card.
“There’s so many things you can’t do without a driver’s license,” she said. “What if I would get pulled over? You can’t open a bank account. If something would go wrong with my cellphone, I can’t even talk to my cellphone carrier without a driver’s license. It’s kind of a double-edged sword. Do you want your name changed or not?”