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Social Security

Can you laminate your Social Security card?

Social Security cards are still made out of paper, but it is not recommended to laminate them as protection. It could end up ruining your card.

Can you laminate your Social Security card?

They are massively important to everyone who has one, but they are extremely flimsy and easy to break. They are Social Security cards, and it feels like a light breeze would tear them apart.

It makes sense to secure them properly, right? Something along the lines of laminating should do the trick, surely.

Well, actually, no. That would be a bad idea.

Why can't it be laminated then?

The most important reason for not laminating your card is that it could become unreadable to scanners. Your card has lots of information on it, and it's not worth ruining and having to wait at least a week for a new one. One week is a long time for someone trying to claim something with their Social Security card.

Alternatives to lamination

  • Storing in plastic film
  • A safe documents folder
  • Encapsulation

Why are they still made of paper?

Social Security cards were switched to paper from cardboard in 1983. The fact they are so easily broken is a security feature; if dropped it i unlikely to survive. It also allows for intricate details to prevent counterfeiting.

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However, these security measures seem redundant in an age when so many people have access to smartphones. While it makes sense to at least have an option of a paper card for those who need it, surely the time has come to digitize Social Security cards.


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