E-Verify has self-check to verify job eligibility
Workers and job seekers can submit Social Security numbers at secure online site
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Mar 21, 2011
The Homeland Security Department today started the new E-Verify Self-Check program that allows people to make an online check of their eligibility for employment in the United States.
The new self-check program is available to employees and job seekers who maintain an address in, and are physically located in, Arizona, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Mississippi or Virginia, according to a news release today.
Department officials said Self-Check would be expanded to 16 states in fiscal 2012 and would roll out nationally after that time, assuming it receives budget approvals.
Under the E-Verify program, which is operated by DHS’ U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services agency with the Social Security Administration, employers may submit a Social Security number for a job applicant or a newly hired employee to verify the person’s eligibility for work. If the submitted number matches the information in the DHS and SSA databases, the person is deemed eligible. If there is no match, there are procedures for further adjudication.
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The E-Verify program became mandatory for large federal contractors in 2008. It also is used voluntarily, with a total of about 220,000 participating employers in 2010.
However, the E-Verify system continues to experience errors, fraud and identity theft, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, and a study released in December 2009 found that E-Verify was accurate only half the time in correctly identifying unauthorized workers with borrowed or stolen Social Security numbers.
Under the new E-Verify Self-Check program, individuals who receive a “no-match” or who identify errors in the database are given an opportunity to submit corrections to DHS and SSA before applying for jobs.
The goal of the self-check program is to reduce the mismatches in the system by allowing people to identify and correct those errors on their own, DHS said.
“E-Verify Self-Check is expected to reduce the number of data mismatches employers experience when using E-Verify and, as a result, will decrease the amount of time and resources they spend resolving those mismatches,” the department said.
The USCIS estimates that Self-Check will generate about 850,000 to 1 million queries in the first year and about 8 million queries per year after the program is expanded nationwide.
Under the self-check program, which operates at its own website, people must submit a name, birth date and address; confirm their identity by answering demographic and financial questions generated by a third-party assurance service; and enter a Social Security number, and if appropriate, an Alien Registration number.
Self-Check queries are not shared with users' employers or prospective employers, nor will they affect a user’s credit score, DHS said.
DHS also warned that employers may not require workers to use Self-Check or show Self-Check results, and employers must continue to run an E-Verify query on each new hire.
DHS said individuals who use the secure Self-Check service will have their information protected. The questions and answers are shared only with the independent identity assurance service, which stores personal information for a year. Also, DHS is notified when a user's identity is verified.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.