No Match Letters

In late 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced they would resume issuing their “No Match Letter” in the Spring of 2019. The purpose of the letter is to advise employers that corrections are needed in order for them to properly post an employee’s wage earnings.

So, in March of 2019, the SSA began mailing notifications to employers whom they identified as having at least one name and Social Security Number (SSN) combination submitted on wage and tax statement (Form W-2) that did not match their records. Mismatches often occur due to typographical errors by the employer or staff at the SSA; a name change from a marriage, divorce or legal change that didn’t get reported, or simply by submitting an incomplete form. Do not assume an SSA no match letter means the employee provided false information or is not authorized to work in the U.S. The letter is simply stating there is a discrepancy with the employee’s name and/or SSN. The employee should be given every opportunity to correct the situation if the error is on their part.

The new letter will be referred to as an “Employer Correction Request Notice”. Note that this new letter will not contain names or SSNs of employees. Instead, it will inform you that discrepancies have been noted and direct you to register with the Business Services Online (BSO). This online service allows employers to find the error(s) that the letter is referring to and then refer you to the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) online to verify the names and SSNs of employees. They can also use a call in service, Telephone Number Employer Verification (TNEV) to verify information. Both the SSNVS and the TNEV are free services that are available to employers to verify SSNs and help minimize the possibility of receiving a no match letter in the first place. If an employer is looking to handle a large volume of SSNs, they can register for a program known as the Consent Based Social Security Number Verification Service (opens in a new window). This fee-based Social Security number verification service is available to provide instant automated verification and can handle large volume requests.

Below are some tips to help employers avoid getting a no match letter.

Do:

  1. Recognize that name/SSN no-matches can result because of simple administrative errors.
  2. Check the reported no-match information against your personnel records.
  3. Inform the employee of the no-match notice.
  4. Ask the employee to confirm his/her name/SSN reflected in your personnel records.
  5. Advise the employee to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to correct and/or update his or her SSA records.
  6. Give the employee a reasonable period of time to address a reported no-match with the local SSA office.
  7. Follow the same procedures for all employees regardless of citizenship status or national origin.
  8. Periodically meet with or otherwise contact the employee to learn and document the status of the employee’s efforts to address and resolve the no-match.
  9. Review any document the employee chooses to offer showing resolution of the no match.
  10. Submit any employer or employee corrections to the SSA.

Don’t:

  1. Assume the no-match conveys information regarding the employee’s immigration status or actual work authority.
  2. Use the receipt of a no-match notice alone as a basis to terminate, suspend or take other adverse action against the employee.
  3. Attempt to immediately reverify the employee’s employment eligibility by requesting the completion of a new Form I-9 based solely on the no-match notice.
  4. Follow different procedures for different classes of employees based on national origin or citizenship status.
  5. Require the employee to produce specific I-9 documents to address the no-match.
  6. Require the employee to provide a written report of SSA verification (as it may not always be obtainable).

Below are some tips to help employees who may be involved in a no match situation.

What Employees Should Know:

  • Name/SSN no-matches can result from simple administrative errors.
  • You should contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) as soon as possible to update your records following a name change due to marriage, divorce or some other reason.
  • You should double-check your name and SSN on your Social Security card for errors.
  • If you receive a no-match notice or discover an error on your Social Security card, an SSA representative can review it with you.
  • Your employer may periodically ask for information on the status of your efforts to address and resolve the no match.

Employees Should Request:

  • Notice from their employer of the nature and source of any reported name/SSN no-match.
  • An opportunity to review and correct name/SSN errors in employer records.
  • Continued employment while addressing and resolving a reported name/SSN no-match.
  • A reasonable period of time to gather documents and resolve a reported name/SSN no-match with SSA
  • Equal treatment under the employer’s policies regarding name/SSN no-matches regardless of citizenship status or national origin.

Employees Should Call The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) Hotline at 800.255.8155 if an Employer:

  • Attempts to immediately reverify an employee’s employment eligibility by requesting the completion of a new Form I-9 based solely on receipt of a no-match notice.
  • Terminates, suspends or takes any other adverse action affecting an employee’s employment based only on the notice of name/SSN no-match.
  • Fails to provide a reasonable period of time for an employee to address and resolve the reported no-match.
  • Follows different procedures for different classes of employees based on national origin or citizenship status.
  • Requires an employee to produce specific documents to address the no-match.
  • Requires an employee to produce specific written evidence from the SSA or any other governmental entity that the no-match has been resolved.

Source: Justice.gov (opens in a new window)

SSA No Match Letter vs IRS No Match Letter

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also sends a notice to employers when the information they receive regarding tax withholdings for employees does not match information in the IRS database. The two main reasons an employer might receive an IRS no-match letter are (1) missing or incomplete Social Security number (referred to by the IRS as a “tax identification number,” or TIN) or (2) missing or incomplete employer identification number (EIN). Much as the Social Security Administration (SSA) no-match letter is, this is an attempt by the IRS to reconcile the information an employer is submitting and the information the government has in its database. An IRS no-match letter does not make any statement about a worker’s immigration status or the worker’s employment authorization.

Unlike SSA no-match letters, the IRS no-match letter provides for a penalty if the employer does not respond to it. The employer could face a $50 fine per employee if the employer does not act on the IRS notice and resubmit a corrected W-2 form for each employee named in the notice.

Source: National Immigration Law Center (opens in a new window)


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