Social Security Background Checks FAQ

Social Security Background Checks FAQ

Performing a background check using a social security number is a great way to find out information about yourself that employers and government agencies have access to when you’re applying for a job, licensing, or certification.

What Does A Background Check Consist Of?

In some cases, a background check may be the exact same thing as a criminal check, used to determine if you’ve committed any crimes in the past.

Woman brainstorming about background check.

However, for most people, a social security background check is going to reveal information about your education and employment history, where you’ve lived, civil records, and professional references.

When you’re applying for a job, your background check will verify that you’re able to perform your duties by revealing your past education and jobs that you’ve held that pertain to the position you’re applying for.

Background checks help companies and agencies protect their business by verifying that people are who they say they are.

Why Should I Perform Background Checks?

If you own a business, you are going to want to perform background checks on anyone applying for a position.

Running the checks will ensure that you are protecting your business, your clients, and your other employees, and that you aren’t going to hire someone that may have a criminal record.

Performing in-depth background checks will help you verify the information they’ve provided on their application or resume. It’s a sad fact that many people will lie about their past accomplishments, degree, and even their crimes, which is why you need to run background checks.

Performing a background check on yourself is also a great way to find out what other agencies and employers are able to see about you, and clear up any potential problems or false information that’s being included.

Are Background Checks Required?

Certain industries, such as healthcare, finance, and government jobs, do require you to submit to a background check before you will be eligible for employment.

Pen on employment application.

Even if your business does not require background checks by law, or if you’re applying for a position in a professional setting, you are going to want to run background checks on every person that applies, or on yourself before you apply.

With the lower cost and time requirements of performing background checks, there’s really no reason to not run them.

Do I Need Permission From The Person Being Checked?

Absolutely. Because you’re going to be using the person’s social security number to reveal hidden information about them, you are going to need their written consent before the check can be performed.

You are going to be required to provide 2 different befores before you can run the background check.

First, you will need an authorization form that they will need to sign, which states that you have explicit permission to run a background check. Then, you’re going to need a disclosure form that states you will be receiving the results and using it to determine their employment eligibility.

These forms are not required if you are performing the checks on yourself.

What Information Do I Need About Them?

Before you can run a background check on someone, you are going to need them to provide a few different pieces of information. You are going to need their social security number, first and foremost.

You will also need the person’s full legal first, last, and middle name, along with their date of birth.

With basic information, you are not going to be able to perform criminal background checks.

To ensure accuracy of the information being provided, criminal background checks require the application to submit to a fingerprint scan. Fingerprints verify that you will not accidentally receive information about another individual with the same legal name.

What Do Background Checks Show?

The information that you receive when a background check is performed is dependent on the industry that you’re in, and the information that you’re able to request.

Magnifying glass on bunch of paper.

As previously mentioned, government agencies and certain professional sectors are going to require a criminal background check, which will return information about any arrests, charges, and convictions you have against you.

Other industries only require shallow background checks which will reveal your education history, places of employment, and people that you are professionally associated with.

In general, you want to request as much information as you’re legally able to, to ensure that you are not going to be hiring criminals or people who are misrepresenting themselves, and that you do not have information in your own record that could keep you from seeking gainful employment.

How Long Do Background Checks Take?

Depending on the level of information you’re requesting, different checks could take significantly different amounts of time.

In general, when you’re performing a shallow check, only requesting information about a person’s employment and education history, and the agency you’re using to run the check quickly submits the information, you should receive the results of a background check within a few days.

In some instances, in the case of centrally managed databases, you could receive the results instantly.

However, if you are requesting criminal information about someone, or even yourself, you need to expect to wait up to 6 to 8 weeks before you will receive the results. The extra delays are due to processing and ensuring that the information is being provided about the correct person.

How Far Back Do Checks Go?

In most cases, the furthest back a background check can go is 10 years. In the event of bankruptcies, tax liens, judgements, collections, and certain criminal convictions, a background check may go further back.

Word debt written on money.

In some states, though, like California for example, criminal background checks can only provide information about lesser crimes that have been committed and the person has been convicted of within the last 7 years.

More serious crimes do not fall off of criminal background checks, even in California.

How Often Should They Be Performed?

When you’re applying for government job positions, you can expect background checks to be performed periodically. In finance and healthcare industries, you will be required to submit for a background check whenever you reapply for licensing or certifications.

Performing a background check using a social security number is a great way to find out information about yourself that employers and government agencies have access to when you’re applying for a job, licensing, or certification…

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