The Social Security Administration (SSA) has made it clear that in spring 2019, they would be notifying employers, as well as third-party payroll companies, if they submitted any W-2s that had a name and social security number (SSN) that did not match the agency’s records. These social security mismatch notices began rolling out in March of this year. The SSA states the purpose of the mismatch letters is to make employers aware of corrections that are needed in order for the agency to accurately post employee earnings and correct records.
Issuing mismatch notices is not a new practice for the SSA. Starting in 1993 and ending in 2012, the SSA sent out notices to employers when submitted Form W-2s contained a name and SSN that did not correspond with agency records. The SSA would send annual letters to employees and employers making them aware of the discrepancies. Now, the SSA is reviving this practice.
Why Did I Receive a Social Security Mismatch Notice and What Happens Next?
There are different reasons why a reported name and SSN would not match SSA records and a mismatch notice would be sent. These reasons include:
- Unreported change of name
- Typographical errors
- Inaccurate employer records
- Clerical errors by the employer or SSA
- Errors in reporting by an employer or an employee
- Identity theft
- Error arising from hyphenated or multiple last names
In the mismatch notice, the employer is directed to take action in order to correct the discrepancy between the W-2 information and SSA records. While the notices caution employers to avoid taking any adverse action against the employee who has a discrepancy in his or her records, there is concern that this SSA practice could have a disproportionate impact on immigrants. The impact could even include those immigrants with valid Social Security Numbers.
If an employer fails to take corrective action to rectify the discrepancy identified by the SSA, it could be used as evidence that the employer had constructive knowledge of unauthorized employment. That being said, a mismatch does not mean that an employee is unauthorized to work. As stated above, there are a number of other reasons for the discrepancy. When in receipt of a mismatch notice, an employer should of course take action to rectify the issue. The employer, however, should proceed with caution and take care not to be discriminatory in working towards properly addressing the mismatch letter.
The SSA recommends an employer who receives a mismatch notice to verify whether the employer records match the name and SSN on the employee’s Social Security card. If the employer records do not match the Social Security card, then that can be corrected. If the employer’s records do match the employer’s Social Security card, then the SSA recommends that the employer ask the employee to go to the local Social Security Office in order to resolve the issue. Once the employee has resolved the issue at the office, he or she should report back to the employer and make the employer aware of any changes that were made.
Providing Clients with Legal Counsel They Can Trust
If you are an immigrant and your employer has received a mismatch notice regarding a discrepancy in your records, talk to the dedicated immigration law attorneys at Nachman, Phulwani, Zimovcak Law Group, P.C. We’ll answer any of your questions and provide you with the resources you need to resolve any outstanding issues. Dedicated to excellence in serving our clients, we are here for you. Contact us today.