Social Security No-Match Letters: A New Twist on an Old Favorite

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In 2019, the Social Security Administration resurrected the practice of issuing Social Security No-Match letters. These employer correction request notices serve as notice to employers that a discrepancy exists between the Social Security number submitted on behalf of an employee and government records. The letters generally ask employers to review the discrepancies, inform employees of the no-match, and submit corrected information on a Form W-2C within 60 days.

During the pandemic, we saw a significant decline in the number of no-match letters received by employers. However, it seems they are back, and this time missing a key element.

Process

The letter generally requires employers to first check their records for typographical errors and if found, file a W-2C to correct the same. If no typos are apparent, the employer is instructed to ask the employee to check their Social Security card and advise as to any name or number differences between the card and the employer’s records. As with typographical errors, any differences should be reported on a W-2C.

If this process does not resolve the issue and the employer’s records match the card, the employee should be instructed to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to resolve the matter. Once the employee has contacted the SSA and has resolved the issue, the changes should be reported on a W-2C by the employer. However, it appears that the 60-day time requirement has been removed.

Timing

The most recent letters are being issued without the language advising employers to respond within 60 days and instead include an attachment instructing the employer to submit a W-2C to correct any mismatch, “as soon as you can.”

Perhaps this is because of the pandemic, or perhaps the SSA is acknowledging that resolution of these issues often takes longer than 60 days. Regardless, the omission of the timeframe from the letter does not eradicate an employer’s need to comply.

The Big Picture

Employers receiving No-Match Letters should continue to work with experienced immigration counsel to complete the process and determine what steps might be required to avoid future liability.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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