Status of the Social Security Administration’s Earnings Suspense File

Date: 
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Report Number: 
A-03-15-50058
Report Type: 
Audit Report
Office Affiliation: 

We are issuing this report to provide information about the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) efforts to reduce the size and growth of the Earnings Suspense File (ESF).

Title II of the Social Security Act requires that SSA maintain records of wage amounts employers pay individuals. Employers report their employees’ wages to SSA at the conclusion of each tax year (TY). As part of the Annual Wage Reporting process, SSA validates earnings by matching reported names and Social Security numbers (SSN) on W-2s (Wage and Tax Statement) to the Numident.

W-2s that include names and SSNs that do not match SSA’s records are posted to the ESF—a repository of W-2s that failed SSA’s name and SSN matching criteria or other wage discrepancies. SSA maintains suspended wages because missing wages can affect an individual’s eligibility for, and/or the amount of, retirement, disability, or survivors benefits.