How to Verify a Social Security Number

The Social Security Administration allows employers, organizations and third party inquirers to request verification of Social Security numbers. The verification is to check that such a number exists in the SSA's database -- it does not reveal the SSN owner's identity or other information. The agency provides several verification methods, both free and paid.

Social Security Number Verification Service

You can verify a Social Security Number online with the Social Security Number Verification Service. The program allows you to instantly verify up to 10 names and numbers at a time or upload up to 250,000 names and numbers for overnight processing. You will receive the results the following day. This system is for wage reporting purposes and can only be used for current or former employees. The service is free but you must register for access.

Consent Based Social Security Number Verification (CBSV) Service

The CBSV requires consent from the SSN owner. It is for companies seeking SSN verification for banking, licensing, credit checks, background checks and similar requirements. Results show whether information such as the SSN holder's name, date of birth and SSN match the SSA's records. Users must have an Employer Identification number (EIN), which you can obtain from the Internal Revenue Service. Companies pay an initial fee of $5,000 and an additional fee for each SSN verification.

Paper Requests

You can submit SSN verification requests on paper to your local SSA office. The office will verify up to 50 SSNs with this method. Write the names and associated details on a sheet of paper in the following columnar format: Social Security number, last name, first name, middle initial and date of birth. Contact the local office for confirmation on format. Some might accept the request via fax.

Telephone Verification

You can request SSN verification by phone only if you are registered for the online verification service and one of the following scenarios applies: you don't have access to a computer and it's an emergency; you have been locked out of the system and an agent can't give you access; you haven't received a new password; or the online verification system is down. The agent will ask for information to improve your identity and authorization to use the service, such as your name and EIN. The SSA verification number is 800-772-6270.