By Meg Eynon, Vice President, The Payroll Factory®
Published: 24 OCT 07

New regulations from the Department of Homeland Security have tightened up employer’s obligations regarding the verification of employee social security numbers.

It is important now more than ever that employees’ social security numbers are verified before employment begins. If a third party, such as the Social Security Administration, contacts an employer to state that an employee’s name and social security number do not match to then that employee may not be authorized to work in the United States and must then be investigated by the employer.

If an employer receives a social security number no-match letter from the SSA after September 14, 2007, they will have only 93 days to correct the information supplied to the SSA. If the no-match issue can not be resolved in this time period, the employer is required to terminate the employee. An employer who does not terminate an employee after this time period in this situation is considered to knowingly continue to employ an unauthorized person in the country and may be fined or subject to imprisonment.

For employer’s protection, we advise following the steps below:

  • Institute, and post, your company policy regarding the hiring, and termination of employees with social security numbers that fail verification. **note: this policy must be applied to all prospective and current employees equally.
  • Be sure that you have a W-4 and

    I-9 in your files for every employee. Keep a copy of the employee’s social security card and driver’s license or other picture i.d. on file.
  • Verify all social security numbers by calling 1-800-772-6270
  • If a number fails to verify on a new employee, do not allow him/her to work

    until correct information is provided.
  • If a number fails to verify on a current employee, you must take a specific series of steps to correct the situation. Otherwise, you may be in violation of government discrimination laws. The required steps are listed on the next page.

You may contact the “Safe Harbor Information Center” at 800-421-7105 with questions regarding no-match letters. And as always, feel free to call us if we can be of any help.

What to do if a Current Employee’s Social Security Number Fails to Verify

  • First, check your records. Make sure that you have not made a clerical error of some kind. (i.e.: Perhaps what you thought was a middle name is the first part of hyphenated last name)
  • If you find no error, check back with the employee. Make another copy of his/her card, & compare it to what was already in your records. Make a note of the date & conversation in the employee’s file.
  • If your records match the card the employee gives you, you should notify the employee (in writing) that there is a problem with the social security number, and that he/she needs to contact Social Security to resolve the issue. Be sure to keep a dated copy of the notification in the employee file.
  • The employee has 90 days from the date of a no-match letter to produce corrected information. Be sure to call Social Security at 1-800-772-6270 to verify any new information. Make a note of the date & time you called to keep in the employee file.
  • If correct information can not be obtained, the employee gets one last chance to identify him/herself. The employee will have 3 days in which to fill out a new I-9. They must provide identification that shows a different social security number than the one in question, and must include a picture i.d. Acceptable forms of identification are listed on the form.
  • Call the verification phone number again. If this information does not verify, then you must terminate the employee.

If you have any further questions or need more information, please reference the “Safe harbor no match final ruling” on our website,
in the resource center.

The Payroll Factory®
Payroll processing for small business owners. Focus on what you do best and leave the rest to us.
  • 18 E Lancaster Ave, Malvern, PA 19355
  • 610-644-4569

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