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W-2 News
For Employers and Businesses Who Submit W-2 Forms
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Welcome to W-2 News, the electronic newsletter for employers who submit W-2s to Social Security.

Issue 2011-01
September 15, 2011

Don't wait until the last minute. Start filing early since BSO experiences delays when there is a high volume especially at the end of each month.

Changes for Tax Year 2011

Gender Removal from the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS)

The verification of gender is an optional part of the verification process since the release of SSNVS in June 2005. Effective September 24, 2011, Social Security will no longer use gender as part of the SSNVS verification process.

For direct input users, the gender input fields will no longer appear on the SSNVS SSN Verification input screen.

The file format for users sending electronic files will not change. If a value is included in position 54 of a file, we will remove the value and replace it with a blank before processing. All results files returned will have a blank in position 48, even if a value was included on the original file.

For all results, we will no longer use verification codes 2 and 4. We will reword verification codes 3 and 5 and verification codes 1 and 6 will not change.

Social Security Number Randomization

Social Security changed the way Social Security numbers (SSN) are issued. This change is called "randomization". Social Security developed this new method to help protect the integrity of the SSN. SSN Randomization will also extend the longevity of the nine-digit SSN nationwide. Social Security implemented the new assignment methodology on June 25, 2011.

SSN randomization affects the SSN assignment process in the following ways:
  • It eliminated the geographical significance of the first three digits of the SSN (known as the area number) and no longer allocates the area numbers for assignment to individuals in specific states.

  • It eliminated the significance of the highest group number and, as a result, the High Group List was frozen but can be used to validate SSNs issued prior June 25, 2011.

  • Area numbers previously unassigned have been assigned--excluding area numbers 000, 666 and 900-999.
These changes to the SSN may require systems or business process updates to accommodate SSN randomization.

Learn More Online

Social Security Number Randomization Frequently Asked Questions.

Contact the Experts

Find a Social Security Regional Employer Services Officer to help with complicated questions about submitting W-2s/W-3s.

Customer Service

Employer Reporting Assistance
For more information on reporting employee wages to Social Security visit our website

Employers may contact Social Security with wage reporting questions or problems.
Phone - 1-800-772-6270, Monday - Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time

BSO Technical Assistance
Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Eastern Time 1-888-772-2970

General Information (Social Security Information)
Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (all time zones)
1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)

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Last reviewed or modified Tuesday Aug 08, 2017
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