Are there any legal jobs we can do without a social security number? Not really, but there are some nuances that you should be aware of. Let’s take an in-depth look at the importance or otherwise of having this Social Security number and how it impacts employment in the United States.
The Social Security number is probably one of the most important identifiers in an American’s life. Let’s take a look at the reasons why.
Why is the Social Security number so important?
A Social Security number is key to working legally in the United States. Here is a simple explanation for why it is such an important identifier.
We can obtain a Social Security number at the time of birth and registration. Still, later applying for it at a Social Security office is also possible. On the other hand, for non-U.S. citizens, it is also possible to request a Social Security number both before arriving in the United States and once in the United States.
The social security number is the basis for being legally employed. But, this number is the identifier for other important actions such as obtaining government services or collecting social security benefits.
It should be noted that in the United States, there are benefits for legal workers, including retirement, disability, or survivor’s benefits. These are financed through the social security administration by channeling contributions from salaried individuals who pay income tax.
Is it possible to work without a social security number in the US?
A key issue to differentiate before answering is whether the work is legal or not. When a job is undertaken in which the employer does not require a social security number from the worker, it is illegal. From a practical point of view, it is possible to exercise this employment, but from a legal perspective, it should not be.
We should note that an employee must always present the original identity documents and employment authorization within three days of starting work. On the other hand, the employer must acknowledge the correct receipt of this information.
Some exceptions are possible. For example, if one can demonstrate that the documentation has been requested but is still being processed. In this case, you can work while the documentation is processed. However, the employer must provide the processed documentation to the employer within 90 days.
When this situation arises, it is vital to provide interim documentation showing that the final documentation is being processed.
An important recommendation offered to foreign workers who wish to work in the United States is to be attentive to the application and management of the social security number.
Social Security Number Application Process and Deadlines
We must differentiate the application for and processing of the social security number depending on whether or not you are a U.S. citizen and whether or not you are an immigrant.
In the case of U.S. citizens, anyone over the age of 12 must apply for a social security card. This application is processed at social security offices; you must present the appropriate identity documentation. Typically, these documents are birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and U.S. passports. These documents must be originals or, in any case, certified copies. In addition, proof of not having another social security number must be provided, and one must conduct an interview.
For immigrants or non-U.S. citizens, the process is similar. However, it can be done in advance when applying for a U.S. visa by filling out the electronic form DS 260. If you choose to do the process through the local Social Security offices, you must submit the requested documentation, including the immigrant visa.
Generally, the process will take about 15 days. However, it may take slightly longer after filing the application in some exceptional cases. This waiting period also applies to lost card replacements.
Jobs that do not require a social security number
It is very important to appreciate that there may be situations where independent contractor work will not require a Social Security number when hired.
However, in these cases, when the contracting company complies with the corresponding regulations, a completed W-9 form must be completed. That is a form that refers to tax obligations.
On the other hand, we should remember that illegal employment violates current labor legislation. That could lead to a federal investigation, sanctions, loss of license, or even deportation of illegal workers.
It is important to remember that in the United States, employers are responsible for verifying Social Security numbers during the hiring process.