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Social Security No-Match Letters: What Employers Need to Know

In March 2019, the Social Security Administration began reissuing no-match letters. Receipt of a no-match letter is not an indication of an employee’s work authorization or immigration status; no-match letters signify that information on employees’ Form W-2 does not match SSA records. There are several accidental but commonly occurring situations that may lead to a no-match letter, such as:

  • the employee’s name has changed (due to marriage, divorce, or other reason);
  • a typographical error was made on an IRS Form W-2 or W-4, such as misspelling a name or inputting the incorrect SSN;
  • administrative errors made by the SSA; and
  • mistakes in reporting culturally-based naming conventions, such as hyphenated or multiple last names.

Employers should take the receipt of a no-match letter seriously as there are several compliance areas that may be impacted by the receipt of no-match letters: 1) correcting the records mismatch; 2) tax reporting obligations; 3) anti-discrimination provisions; and 4) immigration and I-9 requirements.

Employers should not terminate or discipline an employee because of a no-match letter. Additionally, employers should not request the employee fill out a new Form I-9, produce specific I-9 documents to address the mismatch or provide verification of a resolution with the SSA. Employers need to make sure that all employees are treated the same, without regard to citizenship, immigration status or national origin.

Below are five practical steps that employers should take upon the receipt of a no-match letter:

  1. Register online to find out which employees have discrepancies in their SSA files.
  2. Inform affected employees of the no-match notice and ask that they confirm the name and SSN reflected in your employment records.
  3. Advise the workers to contact the SSA to correct their SSA records. Give employees a reasonable period of time to do this.
  4. Stay in contact with the affected employees to learn and document the status of their efforts to address and resolve the issue.
  5. Submit any employer corrections to the SSA.