Q. We recently received a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration. How should we respond?
A. In April 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) resumed the practice of sending no-match letters, which notify an employer of a discrepancy between information they reported on an employee’s W-2 form and information in the SSA’s database.
As you may recall, the SSA had temporarily stopped sending no-match letters after a lawsuit was filed in 2007 challenging a proposed no-match rule issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has now been rescinded.
The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices recently issued the following “do’s and don’ts” for employers regarding no-match letters:
- Recognize that name/Social Security number no-matches can result because of simple administrative errors.
- Check the reported no-match information against your personnel records.
- Inform the employee of the no-match notice.
- Ask the employee to confirm his or her name/SSN reflected in your personnel records.
- Advise the employee to contact the SSA to correct or update his or her SSA records.
- Give the employee a reasonable period of time to address a reported no-match with the local SSA office.
- Follow the same procedures for all employees regardless of citizenship status or national origin.
- 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.
- Submit any employer or employee corrections to the SSA.
- Assume the no-match conveys information regarding the employee’s immigration status or actual work authority.
- Use the receipt of a no-match notice alone as a basis to terminate, suspend or take other adverse action against the employee.
- 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.
- Follow different procedures for different classes of employees based on national origin or citizenship status.
- Require the employee to produce specific documents to address the no-match.
- Ask the employee to provide a written report of SSA verification.