The Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) allows employers to match their record of employee names and Social Security numbers (SSNs) with Social Security records before preparing and submitting Forms W-2. Making sure names and SSNs on the W-2 match our records is important because unmatched records can result in additional processing costs for you and uncredited earnings for your employees. Uncredited earnings can affect future eligibility to (and amounts paid under) Social Security's retirement, disability and survivors program.
SSNVS should only be used for the purpose for which it is intended.
Social Security will verify SSNs and names solely to ensure the records of current or former employees are correct for the purpose of completing an Internal Revenue Service Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement). A current employee is defined as a person who has received and accepted a job offer.
It is illegal to use the service to verify SSNs of potential new hires or contractors or in the preparation of tax returns.
Company policy concerning the use of SSNVS should be applied consistently to all workers; for example:
- If used for newly hired workers, verify information on all newly hired workers.
- If used to verify information on other workers in your database, verify the information for all workers in the entire database.
Third-party use of SSNVS is strictly limited to organizations that contract with employers to either handle the wage reporting responsibilities or perform an administrative function directly related to the annual wage reporting responsibilities of hired employees. It is suggested that contracts between the third-party and the employer stipulate that the functions being performed by the third-party contractor relate to wage reporting responsibilities and SSNVS should only be used for the wage reporting responsibilities of hired employees. It is not proper to use SSNVS for non-wage reporting purposes, such as identity, credit checks, mortgage applications, etc.
Anyone who knowingly and willfully uses SSNVS to request or obtain information from Social Security under false pretenses violates Federal law and may be punished by a fine, imprisonment or both.
Social Security may ban you and/or the company you represent from the use of SSNVS if Social Security determines there has been misuse of the service.
SSA returns all names and SSNs submitted. If the name and SSN do not match our records, SSA advises the following:
- This response does not imply that you or your employee intentionally provided incorrect information about the employee's name or SSN.
- This response does not make any statement about your employee's immigration status.
- This response is not a basis, in and of itself, to take any adverse action against the employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against the employee.
Do not use SSNVS before hiring an employee.
- While the service is available to all employers and third-party submitters, it can only be used to verify current or former employees and only for wage reporting (Form W-2) purposes.
- Social Security will review usage of SSNVS to ensure that employers are using it for the proper purposes.
Do not use SSNVS to take punitive action against an employee whose name and SSN do not match Social Security's records.
- A mismatch does not imply that the employer or the employee intentionally provided incorrect information.
- A mismatch does not make any statement about an employee's immigration status and is not a basis, in and of itself, for taking any adverse action against an employee. Doing so could subject you to anti-discrimination or labor law sanctions.
Third-party use of SSNVS is strictly limited to organizations that contract with employers to either handle the wage reporting responsibilities or perform an administrative function directly related to annual wage reporting responsibilities of hired employees.
It is not proper to use SSNVS for non-wage reporting purposes, such as identity, credit checks, mortgage applications, etc.
- Registration is required through Business Services Online. Third-party preparers need only register once in their own firm's name. Complete the registration form and select your own password. Social Security will verify your identity against our records and display a User ID. Make note of the User ID, password and expiration date.
- Request access and activation code – Return to the Business Services Online page and login with your User ID and password. Select "Request Access and Activation Code."
- Activation code is mailed to your employer – Your employer should give you the activation code which allows you access to SSNVS.
- Login to use the service – Go to the Business Services Online page, select Login, input your User ID, password and activation code and you will be able to use the service.
For more detailed instructions on registering and/or using SSNVS, refer to the SSNVS Handbook.
- Go to the Business Services Online page and log in.
- Choose "Social Security Number Verification Service."
- Direct Key Results – Verify up to 10 names/SSNs online for immediate results.
- Overnight Results – Upload a file with up to 250,000 names/SSNs for next business day results.
- You will receive a response for all names/SSNs both verified and not verified.
- Make sure you did not make a typographical error.
- You may ask to see the employee's Social Security card to ensure you have the correct information.
- If you cannot resolve the error, then ask your employee to contact their local Social Security office.
If you are a tax preparer, accountant, payroll agent, payroll service or you process Form W-2 on another company's Employer Identification Number (EIN), you can verify names and SSNs on behalf of your clients, but only for wage reporting purposes. You only need one User ID (even if you represent more than one company).
Call the Employer Reporting Service Center at 1-800-772-6270.