Laminate a Social Security Card

Why Can’t You Laminate a Social Security Card?

We’ve seen many people asking whether it’s okay to laminate a social security card.

If you’re wondering the same thing about laminated social security cards, then we’d like to inform you that the US government categorically states that you cannot laminate your social security card.

But laminating would protect the card and keep it in good condition for a long time, so why can’t I laminate it?

You Ask! Well, read on to find out why you can’t laminate your SS card and learn what alternative ways you can use to protect it.

What Is A Social Security Card and What’s Its Purpose?

A social security card is a small wallet-sized hard plastic paper that contains a special 9-digit number that’s given by the US government.

This card is normally given to all US citizens, permanent residents, as well as temporary residents working in the US.

The card serves a number of purposes for both the holder and the government, including:

  • Keeping track of your employment duration and earnings.
  • Calculating your eligibility for retirement and/or disability benefits as well as how much you should receive.
  • Verifying that you can legally work in the US.

When you’re getting hired for a new job, you will be asked to provide your social security number by the employer.

They will use the number to report your SS wages to the SSA (Social Security Administration) and declare your earnings to the revenue authority.

Why You Shouldn’t Laminate Social Security Cards?

can you laminate your social security card?

It’s very simple – if you laminate the card, you will obscure its features, especially the detection features, and there’ll not be a way to tell if the card is legit or not.

Again, there’s no need to be very worried about the card getting damaged because for starters, it’s made of hard plastic, meaning it’s already pretty tough.

Secondly, even if the card gets damaged, replacing it is a no-brainer.

All you do is just go to the closest social security office and get a replacement.

You’ll only need to provide identification documents like your passport or your driver’s license.

Alternative Ways of Keeping Your Social Security Card Protected

Now that laminating is out of the question, it doesn’t mean that your SS card should stay exposed to the elements of depreciation. Here are a few ways in which you can protect your SS card without laminating it:

  • Keep it in an envelope or a removable plastic sleeve – like the ones employees use for their badges at work.
  • Don’t carry the card everywhere you go – only carry it when you’re going to a place where you’re sure you’ll be asked to produce the card, like when applying for a job or during military enlistment or college enrollment. It’s wise, however, to master your SS number and remember it always.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it okay to laminate a social security card?

No, it’s not okay, because laminating it cuts access to the card’s features and the possibility of verifying the card’s authenticity.

Does laminated social security cards get accepted?

Most of the time, a laminated card is assumed to be invalid, especially when it’s stated at the back of the card “not valid if laminated”, and it’s rightfully so because the card’s features are obscured by the laminates.

What can I do to protect my social security card?

First, you could keep it in a plastic sleeve or an envelope that doesn’t change the card in any way.

Apart from that, you could avoid carrying the card unless you’re going to a place where you’ll be needed to produce your SSN card like when applying for a new job.

Can you accept an unsigned SSN card?

Yes, if the card looks genuine. Though it’s good to sign one’s SSN card, the signature isn’t necessary for validating the card. 

Final Verdict

So now, we hope you have the answers you were looking for about laminated social security cards.

It’s not good to laminate your card, and that’s because the card will lose important features like the ability to be validated.

And again, there are other ways of protecting your SSN card, like keeping it in a pouch.


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