I don't really enjoy discussing mistakes, but it is an unavoidable part of life and business. Some people will tell you that if you are not making mistakes, then you just aren't doing anything. I take some solace in that theory, as it proves that we are at least doing things – enough to occasionally screw them up.
I have been writing in recent weeks about the use of social security numbers on state workers' compensation forms. This effort was started after discovering my own identity had been stolen, and we started looking at the tremendous potential exposure that the workers' compensation industry has with the freewheeling use of social security numbers on a multitude of forms.
Honestly, between us and the medical community, it is almost an outright addiction.
Part of this process was the completion of an audit of all available workers' compensation forms from 53 jurisdictions; states, DC, Federal and Longshore. I've written several articles about the best and the worst performers in this category, and I reported on June 5, 2017 the total numbers of the audit. I reported at that time that we reviewed 3,417 forms, finding that 734, or 21.5%, require or allow for a full social security number of the injured worker to be entered.
It was that article where we made our colossal boo-boo.
In the recording and transcription of the audit results, somehow (we have not determined how), two states were left completely out of the mix in the final tally. One of them was Colorado. The other was, well, California.
California? We missed reporting California? And no one here (or out there in reader land) noticed? How does that happen? California is the “Big Kahuna” of comp claims and activity in the nation. And we somehow left it off the final list.
Most embarrassing. Mea Culpa.
So, in order to update and correct the record, I must report that Colorado lands at #22 on the list, with 28 of their 90 forms (31.1%) asking for a full social security number. California, with a whopping 154 forms (which doesn't include a myriad of mandated letters), had just 19, or 12.3% calling for the number.
The total forms reviewed across the nation changes to 3,661, with 781 total forms asking for a full SS#. California's low percentage drops the national percentage slightly, to 21.3%.
I provide the full updated list below. Next week, the results of our own CompNewsNetwork Pulse Poll regarding the use of these numbers.
# of Forms
Full SSN #
District of Columbia
* Indiana - disclosure of SSN is voluntary
*Pennsylvania - note - on the majority of forms displaying full SSN, it is considered optional if the WC ID # is entered in a separate field.
*Georgia - The Board Tracking Number is ok to be used in lieu of SSN on all forms
*Minnesota - Allows use of "WID" # ( Worker Identification Number) in lieu of SSN on 26 forms,Full SSN only required on NOI, Wid # is generated during Noi filing process
*Massachusetts - note, almost all forms involved have a notation that disclosure is voluntary, but will expedite the processing of the form.
*Mississippi - disclosure of SSN is voluntary
*Oklahoma - includes old court claims and new claims, most forms have a mirror image in the other realm. Almost all are only last 4 digits displayed.
*Wisconsin - SSN inclusion is voluntary on all but 4 forms.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
Bob has a couple unique personality characteristics. He firmly believes that everyone has the right to his (Bob's) opinion, and while he may not always be right, he is never in doubt. Enter at your own risk, and like all of our blog areas, we encourage you to read the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
We're not responsible for this guy.....
Bob is an accomplished speaker for the workers' compensation industry. He is available for conferences, corporate events, children's birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. You may access his Speakers Brief here.