In March 2019, the Social Security Administration resumed issuance of Employer Correction Request Notices, commonly referred to as “Social Security No-Match Letters.”
The No-Match Letters are being sent to businesses throughout the country that are identified as having a name and Social Security Number (SSN) combination submitted on wage and tax statement (Form W-2) that do not match SSA records. Employers may recall receiving these notices until 2012 when the Obama administration suspended these communications.
Employers receiving No-Match Letters in 2019 must take proper steps in addressing the request. Most importantly, employers should not assume that a No-Match Letter is proof of an unauthorized or undocumented worker; likewise, an employer cannot use the letter alone as a basis to take adverse action against an employee.
Upon receipt of a No-Match Letter, an employer should take the following initial steps :
- CHECK the reported no-match information against its personnel records.
- If the reported discrepancy cannot be resolved, INFORM the employee of the letter and ask the employee to confirm his or her name/SSN.
- If the discrepancy still exists, ADVISE the employee, in writing, to contact the SSA to correct and/or update his or her SSA records and give the employee a reasonable period of time to resolve it.
- SUBMIT corrections to the SSA.
- If the employee does not respond or act to resolve the issue, CONTACT immigration counsel to discuss next steps and document a continued proactive response.
An employer’s failure to address a No-Match Letter and/or failure to follow-up with an employee and their progress towards resolving the no-match could lead to a finding by ICE of constructive knowledge of employing unauthorized workers.
Additionally, it is worth noting during an ICE Form I-9 Audit, the Notice of Inspection usually requests employer records concerning receipt of No-Match Letters and evidence as to how the company responded to the letter(s).
The reintroduction of No-Match Letters is a reminder for employers across the country in all industries of the need to ensure accurate records for wage-reporting and Forms I-9.
Ali Brodie is a Partner and the Co-Chair of the Immigration Practice of Fox Rothschild LLP and has extensive experience in corporate immigration law and compliance. Based in Fox Rothschild’s Los Angeles, California and Denver, Colorado offices, Ali’s practice spans the United States and reaches Consulates worldwide. You can reach Ali at (303) 446-3854 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.