Social Security “no match” letters start arriving

In March of 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that notification letters will be mailed to employers if an employee’s name and Social Security Number (SSN) does not match the agency’s records. If you have received a letter, corrections are needed to reconcile employer wage reports, and to credit employees’ earnings to their Social Security records. A key point in considering the Social Security “no match” letters is that the letter only means that names and SSNs do not match official records at Social Security. It could be due to typos, identity theft or unreported name changes. However, it is critical that you follow the instructions on the letter. Immediate action is required and ignoring a “no match” letter could lead to fines and penalties. The letter may request that you register for Business Services Online (BSO) to view the mismatched records or verify names and SSNs using the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) to correct employee wage and tax statement (Form W-2) earnings. The SSA is only looking to correct their records.

As a result, the letter does not address work authorization or immigration status. It is not advised that you take any adverse action against an employee, such as suspending or firing, in response to the letter alone because a SSN discrepancy letter does not necessarily mean that the employee is not authorized to work. There is no correlation between receiving a “no match” letter and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit. With that said, knowingly hiring or continuing to employ any individual not authorized to work is a serious offense. So it is crucial that employers work in conjunction with their employees to correct Social Security record discrepancies in a nondiscriminatory manner.