GENERAL

Is it illegal to laminate your Social Security card?

No, it is not illegal, but we discourage it. It’s best not to laminate your card. Laminated cards make it difficult — sometimes even impossible — to detect important security features and an employer may refuse to accept them. The Social Security Act requires the Commissioner of Social Security to issue cards that cannot be counterfeited. We incorporate many features that protect the card’s integrity. They include highly specialized paper and printing techniques, some of which are invisible to the naked eye. 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.

RETIREMENT

My cousin and I are both retired and get Social Security. We worked for the same employer for years, but he gets a higher Social Security benefit. Why is that?

Your payments are based on your earnings over your lifetime. Unless you are both the same age, started and stopped work on the exact same dates, and earned the very same amount every year of your careers, you wouldn’t get the same benefit as your cousin. Social Security benefits are based on many years of earnings — generally your highest 35 years. To learn more about Social Security retirement benefits, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/retire.

DISABILITY

I have been getting Social Security disability benefits for many years. I’m about to hit my full retirement age. What will happen to my disability benefits?

When you reach “full retirement age” we will switch you from disability to retirement benefits. But you won’t even notice the change because your benefit amount will stay the same. It’s just that when you reach retirement age, we consider you to be a “retiree” and not a disability beneficiary. To learn more, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.

MEDICARE

I understand you must have limited resources to be eligible for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs. What does this mean?

Resources include the value of the things you own. Some examples are real estate (other than your primary residence); bank accounts, including checking, savings, and certificates of deposit; stocks; bonds, including United States Savings Bonds; mutual funds; Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA); and cash you have at home or anywhere else. To learn more about Extra Help, and to apply online, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.

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