BASIC (09-05)

GN 03316.080 Disclosure Without Consent to Employers

A. Policy

1. General

Under section 232 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 432), SSA and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have entered into an agreement under which employers and self-employed persons are instructed by IRS to file annual wage reports with SSA. Correct names and social security numbers (SSN) on wage reports are the keys to successful processing of employers' and self-employed individuals' annual wage report submissions. As necessary, relevant tax return and non-tax return information may be disclosed to employers that originally reported employment and wage information without the consents of wage earners for the following purposes:

  • to the extent necessary to correct or reconstruct earnings records, or

  • for Social Security tax purposes.

Relevant tax and non-tax return information may be disclosed from the following systems of records:

  • 60-0058— Master Files of Social Security Number (SSN) Holders and SSN Applications,

  • 60-0059—Earnings Recording and Self-Employment Income System, and

  • 60-0089—Claims Folders System.

2. SSN Information

SSA encourages all employers and self-employed individuals to verify the SSNs in their wage records that must be submitted to SSA. SSA does not charge a fee for verifying SSNs for this purpose as this is considered a program purpose (see GN 03311.005). To this end, SSA has established processes to provide SSN verification services to employers quickly and efficiently. See http://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/ ssnv.htm . for information about these processes.

When handling requests from employers for SSN information, adhere to the following:

  • The employer must state that the SSN or verification of the SSN is needed to keep proper wage records or to prepare a tax return. If the employer has only an SSN, do not disclose the name or any other information about the individual.

  • Do not disclose the SSN to an employer in response to a request made via the telephone (see GN 03360.005A.7.).

  • The employer must provide the name, SSN and date of birth. If the information matches, you can advise the employer that according to our records the SSN given was assigned to the name given.

  • Only a positive verification of an employee’s SSN may be given to an employer. If the name and SSN do not appear to match, do not disclose this fact. Instead, advise the employer to have the employee contact the nearest SSA field office to resolve the discrepancy (see GN 03360.005A.7.).

NOTE: When someone has applied for a job but has not yet been hired, disclosure to the potential future employer is not proper. However, if the employer has made a commitment to hire the individual, an employment relationship exists with the employer and disclosure to the employer (e.g., disclosure or verification of the new employee's SSN) is proper even before the employee starts work.

3. Other Information

Because of the difficulty of proving identity, personal information may not be disclosed to employers. Employers who need personal information about employees should be asked to submit their request in writing.

See GN 03360.005A.7.

4. Disclosing Wage Determinations

When requested, an employer or former employer may be provided a copy of a coverage or wage determination relating to the individual in question if the determination concerns services for or wages paid by the employer or former employer. See ICOR MSOM EM 010.001 and RM 03870.000.

B. References

  1. RM 10220.350 - for identifying and resolving wrong number SS-5 cases.

C. Procedure

See GN 03316.001D.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0203316080