“No-Match” Letters Light Up Employers
By Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson, P.C.
June 28, 2019
After a seven-year hiatus, the Social Security Administration (SSA) resumed sending “No-Match” (Employer Correction Request or “EDCOR”) letters to employers where at least one employee’s name and social security number combination, as submitted on Form W-2c, did not match SSA records. The stated purpose of the letter is to advise employers that corrections are required to properly post an employee’s earnings to the correct record. When an employer receives a No-Match letter, the employer has 60 days to submit a correction on form W-2c. An employer may not ignore a No-Match letter. Rather, the employer is responsible for following through to determine whether the discrepancy is due to an unreported employee’s name change, inaccurate records or some error in the employer’s record-keeping system. Unlike prior issuance of No-Match letters, the new version will require that employers register with the SSA’s Business Services Online database to learn which specific employees are the subject of the No-Match letter.
If the employer determines that the information that it initially submitted to the SSA was correct, the employer should notify the employee of the No-Match letter and advise the employee in writing to contact the SSA to correct and/or update the employee’s SSA records. The employer should provide the employee with sufficient time for the employee to contact the SSA and resolve the discrepancy. If the discrepancy is not due to a record-keeping error and the employee cannot resolve the discrepancy within a reasonable time and/or provide independent verification of employment eligibility, the employee should be terminated.
Employers must not respond to the No-Match letter with an immediate termination of the employee. Rather, first review your records to see if a mistake was made (do this immediately) and if no mistake was made, then review the issue with the employee and provide him/her with a reasonable time (up to 60 days from the receipt of the no match letter) to contact the SSA to resolve the difference. We have found that where an employee’s Social Security “no match” cannot be resolved, the employee often quits rather than following through with notification to the SSA or employer.
An employer’s failure to address a No-Match Letter and/or failure to follow-up with an employee regarding the discrepancy can result in a determination that the employer constructively knew that it employed unauthorized workers. ICE will specifically request No-Match letters and information regarding how the employer addressed the no-match scenario as part of an I-9 audit. Therefore, employers should maintain documentation of each step taken to address the No-Match.
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