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WASHINGTON – Last month the Federal Housing Administration began applying edits to its Computerized Homes Underwriting Management System and FHA Connection that check Social Security Numbers for invalid prefix combinations and inclusion on the Social Security Administration’s High Group List. At time of entry, if a Social Security Number has an invalid prefix combination or is not listed on the High Group list, a fatal error message is instantly returned on FHA Connection and no further processing is allowed on that case. According to the FHA, the Social Security Number check will be conducted anytime a Social Security Number is entered or changed in FHA Connection, including adding borrowers to a case after application. If an error message is returned, the lender can determine the cause of the error, re-enter a corrected number, and continue processing the case. If an error cannot be corrected, FHA Connection will not allow further processing of the case. In cases of loans where Social Security Numbers were entered into FHA Connection before Jan. 5, 2004, but have been rejected for endorsement due to an invalid Social Security Number, lenders must contact their Homeownership Center and provide the information the lender used in accepting and underwriting the Social Security Numbers. On or about March 1, the FHA will further upgrade FHA Connection to include searches against the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File, which includes the Social Security Numbers of deceased people. In the future, FHA also plans to include validation of an applicant’s Social Security Numbers against the applicant’s name and date of birth, as contained in the Social Security Administration’s database.

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