Throughout the United States, Social Security beneficiaries receive a card with their Social Security number on it at the time they apply to join the Social Security system. Whether they are collecting a benefit or not, U.S. citizens can have an SSA card in their pocket.
This card is not only used to start collecting the monthly Social Security check, but for many more things. There are a lot of actions that we can perform thanks to this card and the number that we can find on it. Therefore, preserving it is really important, as it is a vitally important document.
Thousands of American citizens, with the idea of protecting this Social Security card, do something that in the end brings them more problems than benefits. In order to keep the status of the card as long as possible, it is not necessary to do something very difficult. With just one action we can make sure that the card is not damaged and we can keep it for many years without the need to request a replacement.
The only thing we must keep in mind is that we must never laminate the card. This is the one thing we cannot do if we want to avoid all kinds of problems with our Social Security number appearing on the card. Laminating it may seem like an action that will keep the card in the best possible condition for as long as possible, but it will also cause it to lose one of its main features.
Why is laminating the Social Security card a bad idea?
The Social Security card has several elements that make it unique. Here are the main features:
- The Social Security number and the user’s name can be seen on the card.
- It has a specific size.
- The feel of the card is unique and makes it something special.
With respect to seeing the Social Security number and the user’s name, there are no problems when laminating the card. However, the size can vary a bit when you put it inside the protective plastic and seal it inside. Still, that’s not the worst part of why laminating the card is a bad idea.
The main problem comes with the feel of the card. Originally, the Social Security card was just a piece of paper with the user’s number and name on it. Nowadays, this has changed somewhat, as we now find that the card is made of the same material as dollar bills. The intention of this is to make it impossible to counterfeit this card.
For that reason, by laminating the Social Security card what we do is to avoid the possibility of us being able to verify at all times the authenticity of the document. Since we need to touch the card to do so, laminating it will cause us to have problems on more than one occasion with the official agencies that want to check our SSA card.
How to protect the SSA card?
To protect the card with our Social Security number it is not a good idea to laminate it because in that case it would be impossible to verify the authenticity. But this does not mean that we do not have to protect it at all times. The Social Security card document is very important and we cannot let it end up broken, so we must watch out for it.
There are several ways to protect your Social Security card from getting lost or broken. The first of these ways is to always keep it at home. It may not seem to make sense to leave the card at home if it is such an important document. But it is true that in most cases we will not need the physical document as such, since learning the number will be enough. So learn the number by heart and you will not need to carry the document.
In case we want to keep it in our wallet or bag, we can put the card in a plastic sleeve. This is not the same as laminating it, because if we put it in a plastic sleeve where we can take it out we should not have any problems.
Do I need a Social Security card to apply for a retirement benefit?
It is not mandatory to carry the Social Security card to collect the monthly checks for retirement due to age or disability. However, it is important to be clear that when applying for a retirement check, we will need the official document. However, this will only be the first time we apply for the benefit. When we complete all the necessary documentation, we will need to show our original Social Security card.
If we have completed the retirement benefit application online, we will have to go in person to one of the offices to show our card. This step is mandatory and if we do not do it, we will not be able to cash any Social Security checks later on.
This condition is only for the first time and in the following months we will not have to show the card again. The method of cashing a Social Security check does not affect whether we have to show our card the first time, as they are separate issues.