Employers Should Review Form I-9 for Social Security Number Glitch

We received the following email from the USCIS about a form I-9 glitch:

If you used Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, that you downloaded between Nov. 14 and Nov. 17, 2016, review them to ensure your employees’ Social Security numbers appear correctly in Section 1. There was a glitch when the revised Form I-9 was first published on Nov. 14, 2016. Numbers entered in the Social Security number field were transposed when employees completed and printed Section 1 using a computer. For example, the number 123-45-6789 entered in the Social Security number field would appear as 123-34-6789 once the form printed. Employers using a Form I-9 that contains this glitch should download and save a new Form I-9 at uscis.gov/i-9.

Employers who notice their employees’ Social Security numbers are not written correctly should have their employees draw a line through the transposed Social Security number in Section 1, enter the correct Social Security number, and then initial and date the change. Employers should include a written explanation with Form I-9 about why the correction was made in the event of an audit.

USCIS immediately repaired and reposted the form on Nov. 17, 2016.

Badmus commentary:  Employers should be aware, however, the social security number on the I-9 form is optional. In other words, employees are not required to provide their social security number on the form unless the employer participates in the E-Verify program.  Also, if the employee does not yet have a social security number but are work eligible, he or she can work while waiting for the number.  The USCIS specifically advises: “You may not ask employees to provide you a specific document with their Social Security number on it. To do so may constitute unlawful discrimination.”  USCIS Handbook for Employers