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SSA sending more ‘no match’ letters; know how to respond

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In light of Sept. 11, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has increased its efforts to find workers whose names don't match their Social Security numbers. And their effort could require action by you.

Reason: This year, the SSA plans to send letters to 750,000 employers informing them that one or more em-ployees has information on a W-2 that doesn't match the SSA's information. Last year, the SSA sent out only 110,000 such letters.

How should you respond to a 'no match' letter? Don't fire the worker immediately. The mix-up may just be a computer or clerical error. Instead, inform the employee of the inconsistency and ask him to try to correct the problem with the local SSA office.

If the employee reports back with a corrected number or new information, report the information to the SSA. To do that, send the agency Form W-2c, Statement of Corrected Income and Tax Amounts, showing the previously used name or number and the correct name and number. You also may need to correct the INS Form I-9 that you have on file for that worker.

However, if an employee tells you he doesn't have work authorization, you must terminate him. (YATL, January 2002, p. 7)

To avoid getting no-match letters in the first place, you can verify any employee's Social Security number at any time by calling the SSA's Employee Verification System at (800) 772-6270 or visiting

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