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Handling ‘No-Match’ letters: Heed new DHS guidance

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Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), employers must verify the employment eligibility of all new hires within three days of the date of employment.

Both employer and employee must sign an I-9 form that lists the identifying documents the employee presented to verify his or her eligibility. The law is now enforced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Typically, when a new employee's Social Security number (SSN) doesn't match his or her name, employment eligibility or tax documents, the DHS or Social Security Administration (SSA) will send out a "no-match" letter asking the employer to resolve the issue.

As many as 10 percent of the 250 million wage reports received by the SSA each year belong to employees whose names don't match their SSNs. Most result from name changes or typographical errors, but some are due to illegal immigrants' misuse of SSNs.

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