ThinkHR Question of the Month

Allegation of Misused SSN



Question: How should we respond to an allegation that a Social Security number (SSN) belonging to someone else is being used by one of our employees?
 

Answer: As a first course of action, you may want to confirm that the accuracy of the Social Security number (SSN) being provided matches Form I-9 and other payroll data points. You may also contact your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to verify that the employee’s name and birthdate match the SSN being used.

When a matter of this nature is determined by the SSA, a mismatch letter is issued to the employer advising that the employer correct their records accordingly, which often results in the employee needing to correct the matter with the SSA.

If after contacting the SSA you find the allegation to have merit, we recommend speaking with the employee to advise that there is a discrepancy with the SSN that has been provided and permit the employee to go to the SSA office to rectify the matter during the next business day. More information is available at https://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/ssnvshandbk/failedSSN.htm
 

According to SSA you should remember the following:

• 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.


Don Phin, Esq. is VP of Strategic Business Solutions at ThinkHR, which helps companies resolve urgent workforce issues, mitigate risk and ensure HR compliance. Phin has more than three decades of experience as an HR expert, published author and speaker, and spent 17 years in employment practices litigation. For more information, visit www.ThinkHR.com.

Further assistance may be accessible through your legal counsel.

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