The Social Security Administration (SSA) resumed sending Employer Correction Request Notices, more commonly referred to as “No-Match Letters”, to employers in the Spring of 2019, following a seven-year period with no issuance of no-match letters. The SSA issues letters to businesses that have submitted a wage report containing a reported name, Social Security Number (SSN) or a combination thereof for an employee which do not match SSA’s records. From an employee misentering their SSN on Form I-9 or unreported name changes, to typographical errors or inaccurate employer records, there are a number of reasons a no-match letter may be issued. Upon receiving a no-match letter, the employer should verify information with their employee before automatically assuming they are unauthorized to work in the U.S. In fact, no-match letters specifically state employers should not take adverse action against an employee based on the letter alone. No-match letters require the employer to provide updated information to SSA within 60 days of receipt of the letter. Employers should not simply ignore a no-match letter. Failure to respond may be hard to defend in an audit, especially if the workers identified by SSA turn out to be unauthorized workers.
Follow these guidelines if you receive a SSA no-match letter:
- Compare the reported no-match information against your records: Mismatches can be viewed after registering an account using the Social Security Administration’s Business Services Online (BSO). Check for clerical errors in your records and file a corrected report if needed.
- Confirm HR records with your employee: If there is no discrepancy between the information from SSA and the employer HR file, notify your employee of the receipt of the no-match letter in writing. If necessary, update inaccurate records and file a corrected report.
- Have your employee contact the SSA: If no mismatch is found between the employee’s name and Social Security Number and the employer’s records, the employee should contact SSA directly to correct their record. Allow the employee a reasonable period of time to address and resolve the no-match issue.
- Wait for the no-match issue to be resolved: In some cases, it can take up to 120 days for SSA to update its database. The employer should provide the employee a deadline by which they must provide proof that the error has been rectified or action has been taken to resolve the issue. The employer should be prepared to present evidence to corroborate that timely action has been taken.
I-9 self-audits remain an excellent way for employers to minimize the receipt of no-match letters and ensure they are complying with their I-9 obligations in the event of an ICE audit.