Social Security Number (SSN) Protection for New York Workers

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law that would no longer require a person to furnish or disclose his or her Social Security Number (SSN) for any purpose. The new law, which protects SSNs, will apply to employers and other certain entities in New York, effective on December 12, 2012. Businesses should begin reviewing their practices with employees, customers, and other individuals that involve all or part of Social Security Numbers.

This includes the entire nine-digit Social Security Number, and any other “number derived from such number,” unless the number is encrypted. For example, requiring employees or customers to use the last four digits of their Social Security Number will be unlawful.

Requiring the use of a SSN will be considered unlawful in the state of New York unless it falls under one of the following exceptions:

1) The individual consents to the acquisition or use of his or her SSN (likely means voluntary consent)

2) A federal, state, or local law, absolutely requires the use of the SSN

3) The SSN is needed for internal verification or fraud investigation

4) The SSN is needed for tax compliance or collecting child or spousal support

5) The SSN is requested for determining whether or not a person has a criminal record

6) The SSN is requested for credit or credit card transaction initiated by the consumer or in connection with a lawful request for a consumer report or an investigating consumer report (in addition to permissible background checks under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and New York Law, this law may also cover corporate credit card programs)

7) The SSN is requested for purposes of employment such as: course of administration for a claim, benefits, and procedures related to employment, including termination of employment, retirement, workplace injuries, and unemployment claims

8) The SSN is requested for purposes of furnishing information to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by an authorized insurance company

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