Ask the BPHR Advisor: No Match Letters

Ask the BPHR Advisor: No Match Letters 5048 3370 Balance Point Team

BPHR’s Director Lisa Salcido, SPHR, SHRM-SCP provides answers to your pressing HR questions.

Question: We received a “no match” letter about an employee’s SSN. Does that mean that the employee is not authorized to work?

Answer: 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. Corrections are needed to reconcile employer wage reports, and to credit employees’ earnings to their Social Security records.

If you receive a letter about a SSN discrepancy, it does not necessarily mean that the employee is not authorized to work. Names and SSNs may not match official records 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.

You should not take any adverse action against an employee, such as suspending or firing, in response to the letter alone. The SSA is only looking to correct the records and does not address work authorization or immigration status. Employers should follow this information, and communicate with the employee to resolve the issue.

There is no correlation between receiving a “no match” letter and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit, but knowingly hiring or continuing to employ any individual not authorized to work is a serious offense. It is crucial that employers work in conjunction with their employees to correct Social Security records in a nondiscriminatory manner.

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DISCLAIMER: The material presented on this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion.

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