PCS supplies our Clients with a SSN Verification Report as a value added service. Before we examine the suggested actions for employees who fail the SSN verification, we will explain what the report is and why we provide it for our Clients.
PCS uses the Social Security Administration’s Social Security Number Verification Service, (“SSNVS”) to run the verification checks. Each pay period, we supply the SSA with a feed which includes the full name, SSN, and birth date of any new employees or employees which had changes to these fields since the last payroll. The SSA returns the results to us and PCS supplies them to our Clients via the “Cover Letter” report each pay period. (Please contact your CAM if you are not receiving this report and wish to begin receiving it.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Since we don’t send any Client related information to the SSA, this process does not generate “No Match” letters to the employer. Click here if you’ve received “No Match” letters and wish to know more about them.
There are many reasons why we verify SSNs for our Clients, the biggest being time and money. For example, if a wrong SSN is used for a prolonged period, the clean-up involved is very time consuming and may include multiple taxing agencies. When errors cross-over quarterly reporting periods, wage details need to be fixed, amended returns need to be filed, and W-2Cs may need to be issued to the affected employees. These changes are frustrating, time-consuming and increase processing fees.
If an issue is identified on the SSN Verification report, you must be mindful of how you handle the issue with the employee. The best advice comes directly from the Social Security Administration and can be found by clicking here. Here’s the outline from the SSA FAQ:
WHAT TO DO IF AN SSN FAILS TO VERIFY
Follow these steps for each SSN that failed verification:
- Compare the failed SSN with your employment records. If you made a typographical error, correct the error and resubmit the corrected data. If the name is hyphenated, consider trying different versions of the name.
- If your employment records match your submission, ask your employee to check his/her Social Security card and inform you of any name or SSN difference between your records and his/her card. If your employment records are incorrect, correct your records and resubmit the corrected data.
- If your employment record and the employee’s Social Security card match, ask the employee to check with any local Social Security Administration (SSA) Office to resolve the issue. Once the employee has contacted the SSA Office, he/she should inform you of any changes. You should correct your records accordingly and resubmit the corrected data.
- If the employee is unable to provide a valid SSN, you are encouraged to document your efforts to obtain the correct information. (Documentation should be retained with payroll records for a period of three (3) years.)
- If you are unable to contact the employee, you are encouraged to document your efforts.
- If you have already sent a Form W-2 with an incorrect name and/or SSN, then submit a Form W-2c (Corrected Wage and Tax Statement) to correct the mismatch. W-2c services are available through BSO Wage Reporting. There is no need to re-register for your Business Services Online (BSO) User Identification Number (User ID).
- A mismatch is not a basis, in and of itself, for you to take any adverse action against an employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing or discriminating.
- Company policy should be applied consistently to all workers.
- Any employer that uses the failure of the information to match SSA records to take inappropriate adverse action against a worker may violate State or Federal law.
- The information you receive from SSNVS does not make any statement regarding a worker’s immigration status.
Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.