No More No-Match Letters – But Employers Should Not Ignore SSN Discrepancies!
The Social Security Administration has discontinued its practice of mailing “educational correspondence” (aka EDCOR or “no-match” letters) to employers where Social Security number information reported on employees’ Forms W-2 do not match the SSA’s records. This, however, does not relieve an employer of the responsibility to address no-match situations of which it becomes aware.
The no-match letters were a practice that the SSA used at various points of time over the years, most recently starting again in 2019. At this time, the SSA states on its website that “At present, we are discontinuing EDCOR letters to focus on making it a better, easier, more convenient experience for employers to report wages electronically. We also will continue to seek out new opportunities to educate employers.” It is unclear what those “new opportunities” will be.
But nonetheless, there may be times when an employer learns of a no-match situation. Because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could pursue charges against employers for knowingly employing unauthorized workers, employers should be prepared to address such situations when they arise. Steps that employers should take include:
- Review their records to ensure that there are no clerical errors.
- If no clerical errors are found, notify employees of the mis-match, and ask them to confirm the accuracy of the information provided to the employer.
- If the provided information is correct, direct the employee to contact the SSA and allow the employee a reasonable amount of time – which could be months, given the challenges of dealing with a bureaucracy – to resolve the discrepancy. Make sure to follow up with the employee.
- If the employee is unable to resolve the discrepancy, or the employee admits that they are not authorized to work in the U.S, consider terminating the employee to avoid a charge of knowingly employing an unauthorized worker.
Importantly, employers should not request to see the employee’s SSN card or assume that the employee has submitted a false SSN and terminate the employee without allowing them to resolve the discrepancy – these actions could lead to discrimination claims.