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April 25, 2011

They’re Back!!! The SSA Resumes Issuance of “No-Match” Letters

Filed under: Compliance,Employment Law,General HR Buzz,Hiring & Jobs — Tags: , , 3:44 pm

After a hiatus since 2007, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it would once again be sending “No Match” letters to employers.  The purpose of No Match letters is to advise employers that there is some discrepancy in the SSA records between the name of an employee and the Social Security number listed for that employee and the Social Security number listed on the payroll tax records submitted for that employee.

What should you do if you receive a No-Match letter?  The SSA advises you to do the following:

  • check your records to see if there is a discrepancy in the records submitted to SSA;
  • ask the employee to check his or her records to determine if the information was accurately recorded/reported;
  • instruct the employee to contact the SSA to resolve any discrepancy;
  • provide the employee a reasonable amount of time to resolve the discrepancy; and
  • document your efforts to resolve the matter.

That’s not all, however.  There is additional guidance from the Office of Special Counsel of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice which cautions employers not to terminate or take any adverse action against an employee based solely on receiving information on a No-Match.  Instead, employers should follow up, as also recommended by the SSA. 

Another challenge for employers is that receipt of a “No Match” letter may give the employer “constructive knowledge” that there may be an issue with an employee’s authorization to work in the United States.  The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) routinely requests copies of “No Match” letters during I-9 audits.  It is unclear whether documentation of an employee’s inability to resolve a discrepancy will satisfy ICE in the event of an I-9 audit.

So what action should you take?  It is recommended that you develop standard policies and procedures to address issues raised in SSA No-Match letters and that those standards be implemented in a non-discriminatory manner.


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