The social security number search is one of the final steps in the hiring process. Employers should perform this operation as part of the I-9 employment verification form.
There are 2 ways to look at this problem, if you do a lot of hiring you may want to do it yourself. If you hire someone occasionally you may want to outsource this function as part of a background check. It is very cheap and you won't have to mess around with enrolling through the Social Security Administrations web site.
If you hire 5-10 people a year or you hire on a regular basis, you may want to do your own social security number searches. The US government has an electronic systems to verify SSN's. It is not foolproof but if a person comes back as verified, the process is over.
To enroll visit the SSNVS site and enroll in the system. It take about 2 weeks and you can manually check up to 10 names at a time.
A word of caution, if there is not a match, recheck spelling of name, be sure there is not a Jr. or the date of birth is correct etc. If a name does not come back as a match, it does not mean the person is not a legal resident.
You should consult your own attorney but we do not deny anyone employment because there is not a match. If the documentation passes a visual inspection, and there is a no match, we proceed with the hire but notify the employee that they need to make an appointment with the local social security office to correct the problem. Again, please consult with your own attorney to implement a legal procedure for the laws in your state.
Starting in 2009, companies that contract with the US government must use the E-Verify system. Different states also have requirements for employment verification using the E-Verify system. You can visit the E-Verify Site for more information on the E-Verify system. Please note E-Verify is run by the department of Homeland Security Department. The social security search is run by the Social Security Administration. They are not the same.