Social Security Administration "no-match" letters
06/26/2019By Scott Pollock
Since March 2019, employers across the U.S. have received over a half-million “no-match” letters from the Social Security Administration (SSA), informing them that the name or number listed on a W-2 wage form does not match SSA’s records. Since incorrect information may be due to any of a number of errors, employers must be careful to not assume that a no-match letter means the employee lied about their immigration status on an I-9 form. To avoid possible liability for unfair immigration related labor practices, the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel provides guidance on how an employer should respond to a no-match letter:
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 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.
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 re-verify 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).
The immigration and I-9 employment-verification takeaways from this guidance is that an SSA no-match letter does not cause an employer to have either actual or constructive knowledge of an immigration status violation, and an employer must not take any adverse action against an employee as a result of the no-match letter. If the employee were to disclose that they do not have employment authorization that is another story.
If an employer has any questions about an SSA no-match letter or immigration related issues, the attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. are available for consultation or representation.
For more information on this or other immigration matters, please contact our office at (312) 444-1940 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation.