Social Security Q&A: Newborns' cards can take 4-5 weeks

Laminating Social Security isn't prohibited, but it is not recommended.
Published: January 20, 2013
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Q: I applied for my child's Social Security card in the hospital but have not received it. How long must I wait?

A: On average, it takes about four to five weeks from the time you apply in the hospital until you receive your child's Social Security card in the mail. However, it can vary depending on the state where you live. If you have not received your child's card within six weeks, please visit your local Social Security office. Be sure to take with you proof of your child's citizenship, age and identity as well as proof of your own identity. And remember, we cannot divulge your child's Social Security number over the phone.

Don't laminate card

Q: Is it illegal to laminate your Social Security card?

A: No it is not illegal, but it's best not to laminate your card. Laminated cards make it difficult, if not impossible, to detect important security features. Also, your employer may refuse to accept it.

The Social Security Act requires Social Security to issue cards that cannot be counterfeited. We incorporate many features to protect the card's integrity. That includes highly specialized paper and printing techniques — some visible to the naked eye and some not.

Further, we continue to explore and adopt new technologies that hamper duplication. Keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213.