Q&A: If a Social Security card contains the employee's address, is it valid for I-9 purposes?

Make sure you're looking at the actual Social Security card, not a "stub."


I’ve been in HR for several years, and while completing the I-9 process, an employee gave me a Social Security card that looks different from any I’ve ever seen before. The employee swears that it is legitimate, and the card says it was issued by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. However, it has the employee’s address on it (in addition to his name and SSN). Is this card the real thing?


You are probably looking at a Social Security card “stub,” rather than a Social Security card. Up until 1972, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued Social Security cards with so-called “stubs” that were approximately the same size and shape as the Social Security card itself. The stubs contained a person’s name, address, and Social Security Number (SSN).

In 1972, the stubs were changed so that they became envelope size (the Social Security card itself would be torn away from the stub).

Social Security card stubs are not acceptable as List C documents for I-9 purposes. If an employee presents a stub to you, you must reject it. You may explain to the employee that he should present either the original Social Security card or an alternative List A or C document as proof of work authorization.

If the employee has lost his original card, he may be able to present a receipt for the lost, stolen, or damaged document. The receipt is acceptable for 90 days, after which time the employee must present an original document.

For additional information about the various changes that the SSA has made to the Social Security card, see the SSA’s “Version History” page.

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