Employers often ask to see an employee’s Social Security card. The Internal Revenue Service’s Publication 15 (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide, states, “You should ask your employee to show you his or her social security card. The employee may show the card if it is available.” But, do you really need to see the card? While not required, SSA provides a service for employers to verify a name and SSN for wage reporting purposes when you want additional assurance of an employee’s correct name and SSN.

Since 1936, Social Security has issued over 30 different versions of the Social Security number (SSN) card which makes it difficult to recognize a valid card. Sometimes when you ask an employee to show you their card the card is not available. In either case, you don’t have to send them to a local Social Security office. Consider using the free Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) which allows registered employers to quickly verify whether a person’s name and SSN match Social Security’s records. It saves you and the employee time.

For more information about SSNVS visit Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information.