As of March 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has resumed issuing Employer Correction Request Notices, commonly known as “SSA no-match letters.” These letters are issued to employers when an employee’s W-2 information does not match the information in SSA’s records. The issuance of SSA no-match letters began in 1993 to ensure the accuracy of earning records before the Department of Homeland Security halted their use in 2012.
A no-match does not necessarily mean there is any wrong doing as there are many reasons why reported names and social security numbers may not correspond with SSA’s records. Common reasons include typographical errors, administrative errors, unreported name changes, identify theft, and inaccurate or incomplete employer records. The SSA no-match letter provides employer notice of this no-match and advises employers that corrections are needed in order for SSA to properly post the employee’s earnings and correct the record.
The names of the affected employees are not listed on the SSA no-match letter and the employer will be directed to register an account with the SSA’s Business Services Online (BSO). This portal identifies what employee’s information needs to be corrected. Employers should be aware they may not take any adverse action against the employee such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against the individual. The issuance of the no-match letter does not necessarily mean an employee is not authorized to work and an employer may be violating state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination of certain protected classes. Instead, employers should correct the error online using Form W-2C or request additional information from the employee to correct SSA’s records.
An employer’s failure to address this request can lead to adverse effects as ICE must ensure compliance with employment verification laws. For instance, ICE routinely inquires about SSA no-match letters as part of the I-9 audit process. Now that the issuance of SSA no-match letters has resumed, employers receiving these notices should take special care in taking proper steps to correct discrepancies and ensure compliance.
By: Brenda Aguilar
Brenda Aguilar is an associate attorney in the firm’s Special Attention Department. Her practice focuses primarily on non-immigrant visas with an emphasis on H-1B and L visas.