Identification Number:
SI 00820 TN 82
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP OISP
Title:Earned Income
Type:POMS Full Transmittals
Program:Title XVI (SSI)
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part SI – Supplemental Security Income
Chapter 008 – Income
Subchapter 20 – Earned Income
Transmittal No. 82, 01/06/2023

Audience

FO/TSC: CS, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, DRT, FR, OA, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;

Originating Component

OISP

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

Approved wage verification companies like The Work Number (TWN) provide SSA with an efficient means to obtain primary evidence of wages when pay stubs are not readily available. This transmittal updates instructions on wage verification companies, incorporates TWN information in AM-17018, and introduces a policy change that requires technicians to collect authorization for wage verification companies via the Wage and Employment Information Authorization application or SSA-8240 instead of the SSA 8510. This change is necessary to ensure we are providing adequate protections and disclosures and to comply with authorization requirements in Section 824 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

 

Summary of Changes

SI 00820.147 Evidence of Wages from Wage Verification Companies

We reorganized content for clarity and updated instructions throughout the section. Among the more substantial changes are:

  • Subsection D - We added content from subsection H to provide a procedural overview for obtaining and documenting wage evidence from wage verification companies. We updated policy to allow faxing of wage evidence into the electronic folders. We changed policy to require authorization for one off verifications to be collected via the Wage and Employment Information Authorization application or SSA-8240.

  • Subsection E - We clarified the procedure on obtaining assistance from TWN regional coordinators. We updated TWN web manager and user procedures to comply with changes in TWN’s policies. We provided links to updated tutorials.

  • Subsection F - We removed instructions for the Verify Job System since it is now an Equifax company and redirects to The Work Number. This section now contains instructions for VerifyAdvantage.

  • Subsection G – This is now the reference section as VerifyAdvantage content was moved subsection F.

  • Subsection H - We moved the content in this subsection to D.3. This section no longer exists.

SI 00820.147 Evidence of Wages from Wage Verification Companies

A. Introduction of wage verification companies

Employment and wage verification companies generally maintain an up-to-date database of wage information for employers who subscribe to the service. They provide an efficient means for SSA to verify wages. Obtaining information from wage verification companies may reduce time-consuming contacts with participating employers when pay stubs are not readily available. Procedures vary for requesting wage information from wage verification companies. The amount of information provided may vary as well. Technicians must be alert to situations that may require them to seek other evidence of wages (i.e., cafeteria plans or tips not included on the report; or there are discrepancies in the report).

B. Types of service from wage verification companies

Wage verification companies may provide different types of service. Some provide SSA with immediate online access; others may fax information to SSA within a few days. Requirements for accessing wage verifications differ among the various companies. Some wage verification companies may ask SSA to register with the company or have specific requirements for a wage earner’s signed authorization to release the information.

C. Policy for wage verification companies

1. Probative value of evidence

a. SSA-approved wage verification company

Consider wage information from an SSA-approved wage verification company as primary evidence of wages when pay stubs are unavailable, unless the evidence contains missing or discrepant information.

If you discover a discrepancy in the wage data, resolve the discrepancy by obtaining additional primary or secondary evidence.

See Also:

SI 00820.130 Evidence of Wages or Termination of Wages.

SI 00820.135 Wage Verification and Reported Wages Over $65 per Month

b. List of SSA-approved wage verification companies

SSA’s Central Office (CO) must approve wage verification companies before their wage evidence may count as primary evidence of wages under certain conditions.

NOTE: Regional and field offices must not refer new potential wage verification companies to CO for evaluation, as CO is no longer evaluating and approving new wage verification companies.

SSA has approved the following companies as providing primary evidence of wages when pay slips are unavailable:

  • the Work Number (TWN) Express Verification, and

  • VerifyAdvantage.

c. Non-SSA approved wage verification company

We do not consider wage information that we receive from a non-SSA-approved wage verification company as primary evidence of wages. If all of the following requirements are met, accept the non-SSA-approved wage verification as secondary evidence of wages:

  • No primary evidence of wages exists (e.g., pay stubs, wage verification from an SSA-approved wage verification company) per SI 00820.130A.1.

  • The wage earner’s employer does not participate with an SSA-approved wage verification company.

  • No secondary evidence per the first three bullets in SI 00820.130A.2 exists to sufficiently document the wages (i.e., photocopies of pay stubs, IBIQ/NDNH/SASRO queries, or MEF/W-2s/tax forms).

  • The employer refers you or the worker to a non-SSA-approved wage verification company; and

  • The non-SSA-approved wage verification company provides wage information to the worker.

    Important: SSA technicians must not access non-SSA approved wage verification websites. Only accept evidence from these sources when the worker furnishes the information.

D. Procedure for obtaining information from wage verification companies

1. Obtaining wage and employment information authorization

SSA must obtain the wage earner's authorization prior to using wage verification companies to verify wages. Authorization must be obtained via the Wage and Employment Information Authorization (WEIA) application or via paper form SSA-8240. If wage and employment authorization was obtained using the paper SSA-8240, follow instructions in GN 00204.150C.3 to record the response and properly document the file. To check whether a person has provided authorization, access the WEIA application.

For more information on the Wage and Employment Information Authorization application, see:

  • GN 00204.150 - Authorization to Obtain Wage and Employment Information from Payroll Data Providers via an Information Exchange for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Programs

IMPORTANT: SSI recipients and deemors are not required to provide this authorization. Do not request information from wage verification companies for individuals who refuse to provide or who have revoked wage and employment information authorization.

2. Contacting the wage verification company

When pay stubs are not readily available, always check with the SSA-approved wage verification company(ies) to determine if the employer subscribes to the wage verification service. To do so, first ensure we have obtained proper authorization from the wage earner by checking the WEIA application. Then, run a search using the worker’s information. Document the evidence according to SI 00820.147D.4 below.

For instructions on running searches using SSA-approved wage verifications companies see:

  • SI 00820.147E for The Work Number (TWN), and

  • SI 000820.147F for VerifyAdvantage.

3. Cafeteria benefit plans and income from tips

Wage verification companies do not always provide SSA with cafeteria plan information and income from tips.

If evidence on the record (e.g., the Wages page, prior pay stubs, etc.) or evidence from the wage verification company indicates that a cafeteria plan may exist, and the wage evidence does not provide exact amounts, follow the procedures to develop cafeteria benefit plan amounts in SI 00820.102.

If evidence on record or evidence from the wage verification company indicates unreported tips, obtain additional primary or secondary evidence. See the information on evidence of wages or termination of wages in SI 00820.130.

4. Documenting evidence from wage verification companies

Document evidence from a wage verification company as follows:

  • Record the verified wages on the SSI Claim system (i.e., MSSICS) Wages page or input to the Supplemental Security Record (SSR).

  • Store the verified wage information in the certified electronic folder (CEF) or the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRED) if a CEF is not available in eView. Use the Evidence Portal when faxing information into NDRED. Alternatively, you may document the verified wage information on a Report of Contact (DROC) or Evidence (EVID) screen and lock it. For information to include on the DROC or EVID, see SI 00820.130C.1.b.

  • If wage and employment authorization was obtained using the paper SSA-8240, follow instructions in GN 00204.150C.3 to record the response and properly document the file.

If a discrepancy exists between the information provided by the wage verification company and other wage evidence obtained, you must:

  • Resolve the discrepancy by obtaining other wage evidence per SI 00820.135B.

  • Summarize the wage determination on a DROC or EVID screen and lock it. For cases outside the SSI Claim system (i.e., non-MSSICS), complete an SSA-5002 (Report of Contact).

  • Store wage evidence and any accompanying wage determination information in the CEF or NDRED.

E. Procedure for the Work Number (TWN) Express Verification

Use the following procedures for obtaining wage verification from TWN.

1. How to establish Administrators (web managers) of TWN

Some FO staff, typically management, may obtain administrative access to TWN, enabling them to add and manage TWN user profiles locally. To request administrative access, District Managers, Assistant District Managers, Operations Supervisors, and individuals who supervise technicians using TWN must contact their Regional Coordinator (RC) through established regional procedures or via the vHelp portal. We call individuals who obtain administrative access “administrators” or “web managers.”

Administrators without previous access will receive two emails from TWN.

  • The first email provides the administrator with TWN access rights.

  • The second email contains a temporary password.

New administrators must log into TWN using the temporary password and set a new password.

2. TWN administrator (web manager) roles

Administrators may view the TWN step-by-step tutorial, Web Manager for Social Service Agencies, for instructions on:

  • adding new users;

  • finding and managing users;

  • accessing a list of all users in a particular location;

  • resetting a user’s pin (password);

  • deactivating accounts for users who retire, leave the agency, or change to a job that does not have a job-related need for access to TWN; and

  • reactivating inactive users.

SSA employees may have only one TWN account. Do not list users under multiple locations. Administrators should review and update their office listing periodically and contact their RC through established regional procedures or via the vHelp portal if:

  • a user moves to a different location or field office (FO) within or outside the Region;        administrator rights must be established, transferred, or removed; or       

  • an administrator is unable to resolve a TWN issue.

To submit TWN questions in vHelp, select from the drop down boxes:     

  • Primary Topic: SSI       

  • Sub-Topic: The Work Number.

3. Establishing new users in TWN

Administrators may add new users in TWN by following the instructions in the step-by-step tutorial Web Manager for Social Service Agencies.

When creating user accounts, administrators must use the employee’s SSA.gov email address for both the email address and username fields. TWN changed the way usernames are established in its network and no longer accepts the “at sign” (@) as a character in the username field. Administrators must format the username so that the “@ ” symbol in the SSA email address is replaced with a hyphen symbol (-).

For example:

  • Username: John.Doe-ssa.gov

  • Email: John.Doe@ssa.gov

NOTE: This policy change does not affect active usernames in the system that contain an @ symbol.

4. Handling name changes in TWN

An SSA employee must always login using the original username established upon registering for TWN, regardless of subsequent name changes. Administrators must not create new accounts for employees who legally change their name.

In the event of a name change, TWN administrators may:

  • update the user’s email address in the user’s profile to ensure they receive the proper notifications; and

  • change the user’s display name in the user profile.

5. TWN user access

a. One-time enhanced security enrollment

After the administrator adds a user to TWN, the user receives an email containing a temporary password. Users must wait 10-15 minutes after receipt of the email before attempting to log in with the temporary password.

Before using TWN service, all new users must complete a one-time security enrollment the first time logging into the system. The Enhanced Security Enrollment process verifies a user’s identity.

To enroll successfully, users must:

  • Enter user name;

  • Enter temporary password received by email;

  • Answer “yes” to “remember me on this computer” and save;

  • Complete additional information pages, which ask users to update SSA phone and email information, and establish six security questions. Do not add personal phone and email information; and

  • Create a new password noting the password requirements that appear on the screen. Users must remember this password for subsequent access to TWN.

A successful log in takes you to the Equifax “New Order” home page. For more information on enrolling and requesting verifications, see the TWN tutorial.

NOTE: The username and temporary password are case sensitive and you must enter them exactly as provided in the initial emails from TWN. For best results, copy and paste the username and temporary password into the website during the first log in, taking care not to copy a trailing space at the end. We recommend users select the “Remember my Username” option by checking the associated box on Login screen.

b. How to regain access to TWN

If a current user hasn’t logged in for over 15 days or  chooses “Forgot User ID or Password”, the user will be prompted to authenticate his/her identity and account via the use of a One Time Passcode (OTP) process. As part of OTP, a user will receive a code via email that is required to create a new password. User will be able to login in TWN successfully after taking this action.

c. Questions about TWN

Users must direct all questions and web-related issues to their local TWN administrator. This is usually the manager or supervisor in the user’s office.

If administrators are unable to resolve the issues, they must contact their RC through established regional procedures or via the vHelp portal.

6. How to request wage verifications from TWN

Prior to requesting wage information using TWN, ensure that the individual has provided wage and employment authorization following SI 00820.147D.1 in this section.

IMPORTANT: We do not condition SSI payments on providing this authorization. Do not request information from TWN for individuals who refuse to provide or who have revoked wage and employment information authorization.

TWN Express Service verification provides employment and income verification with instant delivery on the user’s computer screen. To request information from TWN:

  1. 1. 

    Log in to the TWN Web Site.

  2. 2. 

    On the New Order screen, enter the wage earner’s Social Security Number (SSN). Do not enter your SSN or any SSA employee’s SSN.

  3. 3. 

    Select the permissible purpose, “Employee’s eligibility for a benefit granted by governmental agency; - we are required by law to consider the employee’s financial responsibility or status.”

  4. 4. 

    Select Verification Type(s), “Social Services Verification.”

  5. 5. 

    Select Start Order

  6. 6. 

    Select the employer(s) you want to view; proceed to the verification screen.

  7. 7. 

    You may click on the PDF icon to open the response in PDF format, then print or save the verification report. Document the evidence per SI 00820.147D.4. in this section.

REMINDER: If an employer participates with TWN or any other SSA-approved wage verification company, do not send the employer form SSA-L4201-BK (Letter to Employer Requesting Wage Information). Verify the wage information using the procedures in SI 00820.130.

F. Procedure for VerifyAdvantage

To obtain a wage verification from VerifyAdvantage, use the following procedures.

Prior to requesting wage information using VerifyAdvantage, ensure that the individual has provided wage and employment authorization following SI 00820.147D.1 in this section.

IMPORTANT: We do not condition SSI payments on providing this authorization. Do not request information from VerifyAdvantage for individuals who refuse to provide or have revoked wage and employment information authorization.

1. Establish an account with VerifyAdvantage.

To use VerifyAdvantage, you must set up an account. Take the following steps:

  1. 1. 

    From your Internet browser, go to www.verifyadvantage.com.

  2. 2. 

    Select the “Create an Account” link under the “Government Requestor” section.

  3. 3. 

    On the “Requestor Account Setup” page, complete the required fields and click “Save.” A screen displays a new user account has been set up for you under the company name of Social Security Administration.

    NOTE: Enter your government email address and fax number with area code.

  4. 4. 

    You will receive an email containing instructions to complete the setup process; complete as instructed.

  5. 5. 

    If you have not received an email from VerifyAdvantage containing instructions to complete account setup within 24 hours, contact VerifyAdvantage at (866) 894-7687.

IMPORTANT: When you create a VerifyAdvantage account:

  • The username must be between 3 and 16 characters, begin with a letter and contain only letters, numbers and a hyphen (-).

  • The username created is used as your login to VerifyAdvantage.

  • The password must be minimum of 8 characters in length and contain at least one lower case letter, one digit, and one special character (e.g. an asterisk).

  • To use VerifyAdvantage on your government computer, you must register individually.

  • Do not use your LAN/Mainframe PIN or password when creating an account.

2. Obtaining wage verification

Take the following steps to request wage information from VerifyAdvantage:

  • Log onto the VerifyAdvantage website .

  • Select “Log in” in the Government Requestor section.

  • Type username and password and click “Log in.”

  • Select “Request Report.”

  • Find the “Select Employer” box. From the list of employers, “select” the appropriate employer.

  • Enter the wage earner’s SSN (only enter the nine digits, do not include the dashes), then select “Next.”

  • Select “Next” upon confirmation that the wage earner was located.

  • Agree to the “Terms and Conditions” and select “I Agree” and “I Accept.”

  • Print the report.

3. Obtaining help using VerifyAdvantage

To get assistance using VerifyAdvantage, contact VerifyAdvantage in one of the following ways:

G. References

  • SI 00820.102 Cafeteria Benefit Plans

  • SI 00820.130 Evidence of Wages or Termination of Wages

  • SI 00820.135 Wage Verification and Reported Wages Over $65 per Month

  • SI 00820.143 Monthly Wage Reporting

  • SI 00820.145 Form SSA-L4201-BK (Letter to Employer Requesting Wage Information)

  • GN 00204.150 - Authorization to Obtain Wage and Employment Information from Payroll Data Providers via an Information Exchange for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Programs

  • GN 00301.286 Electronic Evidence Documentation and Retention

  • SI 00601.100 Information/Evidence - General

  • DI 10505.005 Determining and Verifying Gross Earnings from Employment


SI 00820 TN 82 - Earned Income - 1/06/2023