When you hire a new employee there is a host of information to collect to get that person into your payroll system. Your payroll provider will need to have certain data in order to be able to process a new hire’s pay. Some of the data you have to gather is name, address, social security number, rates of pay and direct deposit information. Your company may also offer benefits that require further forms be filled out as well. So you may need to have forms filled out for health insurance benefits, 401k deductions, and the list continues. There are also several forms that you are required to get and keep on file as an employer. These are the I-9 form and W-4 form. With these two forms the same question always arises.
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Do you really need to see an employee’s Social Security card?
A lot of employers ask to see an employee’s card. But what are you looking for when you do? Do you think that once seeing the card you will be able to tell if it is correct? Do you think you need to keep a copy of it on file? Is your new hire required to show you a physical card? According to the Social Security Administration, there have been thirty different versions of the SSN card issued since 1936. This makes it difficult to recognize if you are looking at a valid card.
Other times an employee may not have their card. It is either lost or misplaced but certainly not available at the time they are filling out employment forms. In either of these cases you do not have to send your new employee off to get a new Social Security card. And if you do, you may be surprised that the employee is discouraged from getting another card, even though the first few duplicates are typically free of charge.
As a responsible employer you may not like the idea of not having a Social Security card in hand when processing your new hire’s paperwork. Instead you may consider using the free Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) available from the Social Security Administration. This service allows you to verify whether a person’s name and Social Security number match the Social Security’ records.