Why you should never laminate your Social Security card

Daybreak

(WYTV) – Have you laminated your Social Security card? It seems like something responsible to do — you’ll keep it from slowly falling apart as the decades of your life pass. But the Social Security Administration (SSA) says please don’t do this — ever.

The government says the lamination might cover the many security features on the card. What security features?

The first came in 1983, when the SSA changed the design and the way it protected the cards from counterfeiting. In addition to being printed on banknote paper, all cards the government gave out after October 31, 1983 have at least one of these safeguards — a “tamper-proof background,” “color-shifting ink,” engraved text, yellow, pink and blue circles, a hidden image that you can only see if you tilt the card a certain way, or an “anti-copy pattern” that shows up if you try to photocopy the card.

If your card was printed in February 1996 or later, it might have your nine-digit number in red fluorescent ink on the back. And if your card was issued in April 2007 or later, the issue date might be beneath your signature line.

If you did laminate your Social Security card to protect it, don’t worry — no one will come to arrest you. It’s not illegal, but a human resources department might refuse to accept it as a valid form of identification when you’re trying for your next job. Then you could be in for a hassle.

Instead of laminating your card, stick it in a baseball card sleeve or some other removable plastic case to protect it.

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