The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced in March of this year that it would once again begin issuing “no match” letters to employers who had employees with W-2 information that did not match SSA records. Originally, letters of this nature were issued by the SSA back at the start of 1993. The purpose of the letters was to ensure accurate earning records were being kept in order to calculate social security benefits. Due to clerical errors and other problems, there was a period of time where there was a string of wrongly issued “no match letters” and the practice was stopped in 2012. “No match” letters are once again being issued.
Social Security No Match Letters Recent Issuance
There are a number of reasons a no match letter may be issued. There are instances where a no match letter may just have been generated as the result of a clerical error by any party involved. This includes things like a data entry error by the employee, employer, or the SSA. The employee may also have been a victim of identity theft. In some cases, the discrepancy may only have been due to an unreported name change. This is all to say that a no match letter may not have necessarily been issued because an employee is an unauthorized worker.
No match letters not only inform employers of a discrepancy between an employee’s W-2 information and SSA records, but the letters also notify the employer about the corrective action that must be taken. The letters also caution employers not to use the no match letter as justification for taking adverse actions against the employee. It should not be assumed that a no match letter was generated as a result of an employee being an undocumented worker.
Once the employer receives a no match letter, the first step should be to check personnel records to see if it matches the no match information. If this does not illuminate the reason for the discrepancy as well as the way to resolve the discrepancy, the employer should make the employee aware of the letter and request confirmation of the employee’s name and social security number. If this does not resolve the discrepancy, the employee should be advised in writing to contact the SSA in order to resolve the issue. The employee should be granted a reasonable amount of time to contact the SSA and resolve the discrepancy. If an employee fails to take corrective action, an employer should be very careful to document his or her response in handling the situation.
Failure of an employer to proactively address a no match letter may result in ICE finding the employer to have constructive knowledge of employing an unauthorized worker. In fact, ICD Notice of Inspections will usually include a request for employer records regarding the receipt of no match letters and evidence of the employer’s response to the receipt of such letters.
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