Why You Should Never Laminate Your Social Security Card

Considering how flimsy your Social Security card is, laminating it seems like the most responsible course of action to keep it from slowly deteriorating as decades pass. However, according to the Social Security Administration, you absolutely shouldn’t. Unlike COVID-19 vaccination cards, it’s not because you might have to write in updates sometime in the future, but rather because lamination prevents the detection of many security features. These security features were introduced in 1983, when the SSA overhauled the design and manufacturing process to make the cards less susceptible to counterfeiting. If your Social Security card was issued before 1983, it may not have built-in security measures, but you still shouldn't laminate it due to the potential for the ID problems. In addition to being printed on banknote paper, all cards issued after October 31, 1983, boast at least one of the following attributes: a tamper-proof background, color-shifting ink, engraved text, yellow-pink-blue circles, a hidden image that you can only see if you tilt the card a certain way, or an anti-copy pattern that only shows up if you photocopy the card. If your card was printed in February 1996 or later, it might have your 9-digit number in red fluorescent ink on the back. Finally, if yours was issued in April 2007 or later, the issue date might be beneath your signature line. Instead of laminating your card, you can always stick it in a baseball card sleeve or some other similar removable plastic case to protect it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.