The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it is once again sending "no-match" letters to employers – a practice that has not been in effect for the past six years.
According to the SSA website, "Beginning in spring 2019, [SSA] will notify each employer ... where the name and SSN do not match our records and that corrections are needed." No-match letters are known more formally by SSA as "Employer Correction Request Notices."
SSA's intention to revive this practice was discussed in a recent National Public Radio article.
There may be many reasons for a discrepancy between a name and SSN in the SSA's records, such as typographical errors, name changes, and incomplete information. Therefore, the mere receipt of a no-match letter by an employer does not indicate that an employee is not authorized to work in the U.S. and should not be a basis for terminating an employee.
However, failure to act upon receipt of a no-match letter may be interpreted as constructive knowledge of continuing to employ undocumented workers.
Thus, receipt of a no-match letter may create an affirmative obligation for the employer to investigate the discrepancy. For this reason, employers should develop effective policies and procedures, including a "No-Match Letter Policy," to address these issues in a lawful but nondiscriminatory manner, in order to protect themselves and their employees from civil and criminal liability.
In light of this increased SSA effort, employers would be well advised not to ignore the receipt of these letters, and to develop a policy for handling them.