Employers should note a recent announcement from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in which it said that social security extensions for E-Verify cases have ended as of July 15, 2022. This signals the end of a temporary period in which SSA mismatches had an extended timeframe for resolution due to pandemic office closures.
Reversals of temporary policy such as this one requires employers to pay attention so that it does not become a compliance issue for them. The coronavirus pandemic brought some temporary changes to the Form I-9 and E-Verify process, many of which are now reverting back to a pre-pandemic state. It is the responsibility of the employer to acknowledge and abide by these changes and the effective dates.
For hiring managers that are already overwhelmed with the pressure of rapid on-boarding of new hires and managing the required forms, keeping up with modifications to the federal requirements can be a significant challenge. For this reason, many employers are turning to professional I-9 intelligence software companies to help them understand, navigate and incorporate these changes as they happen. This type of partnership can be an invaluable resource for hiring managers as well as the companies they work for to ensure compliance.
Social Security Extensions for E-Verify Cases Ending
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, E-Verify temporarily extended the window of time an employee had to take action in resolving a Social Security Tentative Nonconfirmation, also commonly referred to as a mismatch.
As a result, there have been thousands of mismatch cases that have effectively been in limbo with the Social Security Administration since March of 2020 due to SSA office closures. However, the SSA’s recent announcement about social security extensions for E-Verify cases ending is set to change things going forward.
As of July 15, 2022, there are no more SSA extensions to resolve mismatches. Employees who have E-Verify cases referred to the SSA after July 15, 2022 will have only eight federal working days to contact their local SSA office to start resolving a mismatch.
Those employees who had their E-Verify cases referred to the SSA between the dates of March 2, 2020 and July 14, 2022 for an SSA mismatch will still benefit from the extended timeframe issued during that window of time to establish a resolution.
How to Resolve an E-Verify Case with a Social Security Administration Referral
The only way to properly resolve an E-Verify case that has a Social Security Administration referral is for an employee to go to an SSA office in person as stated in the official referral letter. As the SSA offices are now open once again, it allows employees who have a current and pending E-Verify case referred to the SSA to visit an office as soon as possible to resolve the issue in a timely manner.
To help guide employees with current or pending E-Verify cases that received an SSA referral prior to July 15, 2022, E-Verify suggested the following schedule for arranging in person visits to SSA offices:
- SSA referral confirmations with dates from March 2, 2020 to December 31, 2020 should visit an SSA office between the dates of October 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.
- SSA referral confirmations with a date from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021 should plan to visit a SSA office between the dates of January 1, 2023 and March 31, 2023.
- SSA referral confirmations with dates from January 1, 2022 to July 14, 2022 should visit an SSA office between the dates of April 2, 2023 and June 30, 2023.
It is important to note that while the above schedule is preferred, employees with SSA referral confirmations can go to an SSA office at any point as long as it is before the ultimate deadline of September 29, 2023.
Although employees do not have to make appointments at SSA offices, they are strongly encouraged to go online to confirm the office address, office hours, and appointment availability. In most cases, having an appointment can help avoid waiting in a long line on site.
Additionally, the employer should review the deadline date on the original Referral Date Confirmation letter provided earlier to the employee and update the date to September 29, 2023, reprint it and provide it to the employee as formal notice of their required action. This is only necessary for employees who are still actively employed and not separated from the company.
What the End of Social Security Extensions for E-Verify Cases Means for Employers
While the bulk of the actions required for an SSA referral confirmation lie with the employees themselves, there are certain aspects that affect employers.
It is the employee’s responsibility to visit a local SSA office in person to resolve a SSA referral confirmation. However, employers are strongly encouraged to officially remind their employees to follow up on scheduling an appointment at an SSA office to resolve the matter quickly.
Once the employee visits an SSA office in person, a representative from the SSA office will note this step in their database. Upon completion, this documentation will be electronically submitted to the E-Verify database which will prompt a Final Case Result to be issued.
The step an employer takes next will depend on the employee’s E-Verify final case result.
There are two additional points of interest here for employers:
- Employees that do not take action on SSA referral confirmations by the deadline of September 29, 2023 will receive a Final Nonconfirmation from E-Verify in their case files. At this point the employer may terminate that employee.
- Employers who have pending SSA referred cases in which an employee has since left or left and returned (such as seasonal workers), have not yet been specifically instructed on how to handle these matters. Some I-9 intelligence professionals are operating under the assumption that those particular cases will continue to pend until E-Verify issues a Final Nonconfirmation following the September 29, 2023 deadline. Employers should be on the lookout for updated information in the future.
With social security extensions for E-Verify cases ending, it requires both employees and employers to closely follow guidelines on resolving SSA referral confirmations. Changes such as this one can happen at any time, especially as much of the world tries to return to a pre-pandemic state. By working with I-9 intelligence software professionals who are constantly watching for changes to the I-9 and E-Verify protocol, employers can have more confidence that the processes in place are up to date and focus on remaining I-9 and E-Verify compliant.