With the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of some services at government offices, it has been announced that Social Security Administration in-person services are now restored as of April 7, 2022. This is a change thousands of employers have anxiously awaited as they have had Tentative Non-Confirmation E-Verify results on hold since the early days of the pandemic.
Social Security Administration In-Person Services Are Now Restored
In March of 2020, the SSA announced the closure of their offices for in-person appointments due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, effective, April 7, 2022, Social Security Administration in-person services are now restored for individuals regardless of if they have an appointment.
With in-person appointments having taken a hiatus for roughly two years, the SSA did show some signs of expecting to be inundated with requests and encouraged individuals and employers to take advantage of alternative points of contact for the agency, such as online services and telephone communications, when applicable. While appointments are not required, the agency recommended scheduling an appointment for a lesser wait time in potentially long lines.
Why the Restoration of the Social Security Administration’s In-Person Services Is Key for E-Verify Users
During the hiatus of in-person SSA services, a number of E-Verify cases nationwide were referred to the agency for Tentative Non-Confirmation (TNC) results. Because of that gap in service, these cases have been on hold since March 17, 2020.
This hold has caused unprecedented issues for E-Verify cases that resulted in a TNC with the Social Security Administration. Some of the most common reasons for this situation include:
- An employee not reporting a name change to the SSA
- An employee’s immigration or citizenship status not being updated with the SSA
- An incorrect name, date of birth, or social security number on SSA records
- A mismatch with SSA records
- The incorrect input of information by an employer into E-Verify
The restoration of the SSA’s in-person services is key for E-Verify users because the only way to resolve an E-Verify case with an SSA referral letter for examples such as the above is to go to an SSA office in person.
As of April 7, 2022, employees with a pending E-Verify case that has been referred to the SSA can now visit one of the agency’s local offices in person to resolve the situation. While scheduled appointments are at this time not required, having one may facilitate the process without having to wait in extraordinarily long lines.
What This Change Can Mean for Employers
It is unclear at the time of posting how E-Verify may re-establish SSA referral deadlines, but in the meantime, employers are urged to officially remind their employees to be proactive in scheduling an in-person appointment at a local SSA office to resolve Tentative Non-Confirmations as soon as possible. Until the time that E-Verify announces how they will re-establish deadlines for SSA referrals, it is recommended that employers continuously check for E-Verify updates on this matter.
For an employee visiting an SSA office in person for a TNC, the process may go like this:
- Employee goes to an SSA field office
- SSA will update their database and submit information to E-Verify
- An E-Verify Final Case Result will be issued
From here the process can take one of several different turns, depending on the employee’s Final Case Result:
- If employment is authorized because the employee’s information matches the data from the Department of Homeland Services (DHS) and/or SSA, an employer will not need to take action because this type of case is automatically closed by E-Verify.
- Should a Case in Continuance be issued, it means that although an employee did visit the SSA or DHS, more time is required for a final case result. In this situation an employer must keep monitoring the case until E-Verify issues a final conclusion.
- A Close Case and Resubmit result means that the existing case is closed and a new one is opened for an employee. This may happen if data from an employee’s driver’s license, passport card, or passport is not correct. In response, employers should close the E-Verify record, update Section 2 details, and then resubmit the case. It will require the employer to keep monitoring the case for results of the second submission.
- If a Final Non-Confirmation is issued, it typically means that E-Verify cannot confirm an employee’s employment eligibility after due diligence. An employer is required to close the case after receiving a Final Non-Confirmation result. This is critical. Should an employer wish to terminate an employee’s employment based on the Final Non-Confirmation result, it is recommended they discuss the matter with employment and legal counsel first.
E-Verify cases that have a status of Verification in Process, Referred, or Case in Continuance must be issued a final case result by E-Verify before they can be officially closed.
Breaking Down an E-Verify Tentative Non-Confirmation (TNC)
A Tentative Non-Confirmation or TNC results from data entered into E-Verify not matching data in DHS or SSA records. Because the E-Verify data is compared with that of potentially both government agencies, it may be possible for the employee to receive two TNC results simultaneously.
When E-Verify shows one or more TNC case results for an employee, the employer is tasked with officially alerting the employee of the issue and completing the required referral process within the 10-federal government working day window. The referral is a step to be taken by the employer and does not equate a TNC resolution.
If a TNC appears on E-Verify for an employee, the employer has to provide said employee with a printed copy of the Further Action Notice. The employee can then contest the TNC within the specified time window or choose/default not to contest it and potentially lose their employment.
If an employee does choose to contest a TNC, the employer will be required to update E-Verify with the referral date and print out a letter for the employee regarding instructions for further action as stated in the referral letter.
Once an employee visits the SSA or DHS, an effort can be made to resolve the issue. If an employee does not visit these agencies within eight business days of the employee referral letter, a Final Non-Confirmation may be issued and the employee could be terminated.
After action has been taken to resolve the issue, or if the time window for action has expired, the case will be updated in E-Verify. If the TNC is not properly resolved, the employer may be required to close the E-Verify case.
Even though Social Security Administration in-person services are now restored and allows employers and employees to get back to business in resolving TNCs, it does require due diligence for both parties, which is why many employers are choosing I-9 intelligence software to help with tracking these and many other important processes.