As an employer, it is important that you check the validity of your employees’ Social Security numbers at the time of hiring them. Third parties, employers and any other organization can only verify SSNs for wage reporting. Below are ways you can verify a Social Security number online.
Use the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS)
This is a free online Social Security number verification service where you register to verify if the SSNs of your employees indeed match with the records at the Social Security Administration. You can verify up to 10 names and their SSN on one screen and get results in real time with this service.
You can upload up to 250,000 names and SSNs and have the results in the next government working day. This option is offered to help those who are verifying payroll databases or those who have hired a large number of employees. This service is only used to verify current or former employees for the purposes of wage reporting on Form W-2. The results are detailed employee earning records that are useful in determining the employees’ future Social Security benefits.
Employees can verify their SSNs by registering at the SSNVS registration page and completing the registration form. Once they get a user ID and password, they then request an access and activation code. This code is sent to you as the employer so that you can share it with them. They can then use the code to log into the service.
Consent-based verification service (CBSV)
This is a fee-based Social Security number verification service that is available to state, private entities and local government agencies. The service provides an instant automated verification and handles an unlimited number of requests.
You must have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to be enrolled in this service. In addition, you will be required to pay a $5,000 initial enrollment fee. And a charge will be assessed for every request that you make to the CBSV.
This service does not verify employment eligibility, background, citizenship or identity. It also does not interface with Department of Homeland Security records. Therefore, you will have to fulfill the DHS requirements separately.
The typical response for the request is a “Yes” or “No” depending on whether the name and the SSN match with the SSA records. If the person in question is deceased, you will get a notification verifying that. Register for the business account to get started with the service.
Social Security number randomization
The SSA made changes in assigning SSNs such that the first three numbers are no longer allocated according to the areas where individuals reside. As a result, these numbers are distributed at random. The High Group list cannot, therefore, be used to determine one’s identity or the area of residence. If you would like to determine your employee’s background, you need to liaise with the Department of Homeland Security for detailed reports.