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For several years, starting in 1993, the Social Security Administration sent employers no-match letters when an employer’s W-2 records didn’t match the administration’s records on employee names and SSNs. The letters ceased seven years ago, and as of very recently the practice has started back up again.

The letters don’t include the names and Social Security numbers of employees with mismatched SSNs, as they had in the past. Employers must register online with the Social Security Administration’s Business Services Online (BSO) to find out whose SSNs are mismatched.

If an employer learns of SSN mismatches and does nothing, then U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may consider the employer to have “constructive knowledge”—a fact an entity should have known—that it has an unauthorized worker. But if employers take adverse action against an employee based solely on no-match letters, they may be sued for discriminating against the worker based on citizenship.

The Trump administration began sending the letters again this spring to strengthen the enforcement of immigration laws.

What to Do After Receiving a No-Match Letter

After receiving a no-match letter, employers should:

Check their records for a clerical error.
Notify the employee of the mismatch.
Give the employee a reasonable period of time to resolve the mismatch with the Social Security Administration.
If the employee doesn’t respond within the time frame given by the Social Security Administration (60 days), the Social Security Administration can be notified.

Cause of Mismatch Letters

The cause of mismatch letters may be falsification, name change due to marriage or divorce, identity theft, a data entry error, or a completely fabricated SSN.

One way to avoid most SSN mismatches is to use E-Verify. E-Verify checks the names, dates of birth and SSNs of new hires against the Social Security Administration’s database. E-Verify can’t, however, catch cases of identity theft when someone steals someone else’s name, date of birth and SSN to obtain unemployment and disability benefits.

InTANDEM will work directly with our clients for any no-match letters we receive to ensure that proper protocol is followed.

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