SSN Verification -

I use the SSN Verification system for all new hires, and one has come back unverifiable - I have a copy of the card and all documentation, and it all appears authentic.

How has anyone else in this situation handled and resolved it with the employee? The SSA website gives so many "don't"s that I am not sure about the best way to deal with the issue.

Thanks in advance for any responses.


  • 10 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • have you verified there wasn't any mistakes in your records such as a typo? if so, have you asked the employee to confirm that your records are correct?
  • I checked the typo issue first, and after that I sent word through the employee's supervisor that we needed to get the issue resolved about a week ago. This employee does not come into the office, and works on one of our out of town crews, so I never get a chance to see the employee to talk to him. I haven't received any word back on the issue, which concerns me.

    The SSA website states that the employee should be able to bring something in that they obtain from their office to provide proof that the information they gave me was correct, but I'm not supposed to force the issue with the employee.


  • You need to to tell the supervisor to send this employee to the SSA office the next time that the employee shows up to work.  (If you really want to be on the safe side, let the employee do it while still on the clock).  But if the employee does not contact the SSA and brings you back the required paperwork, you will be forced to suspend the employee, without pay, until this issue is resolved.
  • I think you've waited too long to address the problem.  You have 72 hours to have that information verified according the I-9.  If the employee cannot produce the correct documentation, he does not have a job.  You could be leaving your company open to some pretty hefty fines for employing someone who does not posses the right to work.

  • Reviewing the correct I-9 documentation and finding out the the SSN doesn't match the information is not the same thing.  In fact, the SSA warns employers about making adverse employment decisions without giving the employee a chance to correct it.  It is a fine line, but you need to be careful that you don't confuse the two.

  • There are two letters you typically see from the SSA.  One is a receipt showing that someone has applied for a social security card.  That is what they need to show to invoke the grace period rule to satisfy the requirements of the I-9.  The other one is a document verifying that a person of a certain name is attached to a specific social security number.  That one cannot be used to invoke the grace period for a list C document on the I-9, but it is probably the document you need.
  • Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this system giving you similar information to what you would receive in a SS Mismatch letter?  You are just being proactive in using the system, rather then waiting to receive the letter?  I would follow the guidelines set out for these Mismatch letters and give the individual 90 days to get this corrected.  There is a new checklist on this website, that outlines what you need to do.  This way, if you ever get audited then you can show that you didn't "force" the issue as you said the website said not to do, but gave the employee ample time to go get the issue resolved.



  • We recently hired an employee who's SSN matches another employee's record.  We verified that the new hire is the actual owner of the number and asked the other employee to provide us with the correct info with a letter from the SSN. Since this request was made, the employee has not returned to work.  Knowing that the number must be assigned to the true owner, what do we do with the wages that have previously been paid to the other employee?  We have to do something so that we can "hire" the new employee into our system and cannot have two employees with the same number?  Help!

  • How long has the employee been using the number? Since you know about the issue, you may need to file corrected W-2s and state wage information on the SSN. If you do not have a correct SSN, you can always file under either all 0's or all 9's, I always forget which is which. I think it is IRS Publication 15 that tells which one to use in what situation.

    Otherwise, the true owner could be responsible for unpaid income taxes on those amounts. And his SS wage history would be incorrect too, although that would be in his favor. 


  • In a case where the company has information that an employee is using a Social Security number that isn't his or hers, it must take some action. First, you need to make sure that the Social Security number you have for the longer term employee is correct. The problem could have been created by a number being transposed at the start of employment.  If this type of error occurred, the records need to be corrected including the reporting of wages. Second, if there was no typo and the employee used the Social Security card with the false number to establish work authorization on the I-9, you are on notice that this individual may not be authorized to work in the United States. In that case, you should require the completion of a new I-9 form and the old Social Security card can't be accepted to establish work authorization.  


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