In 1993, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) began to send what is formally called, “Employer Correction Request Notices” and what we’ve come to know as, “Social Security Number No-Match Letters” to employers whose employee(s) information doesn’t match SSA records. The purpose of the letter is to advise employers that corrections are needed for the SSA to properly post employees’ earnings to the correct employee record. The SSA is committed to maintaining accuracy of earnings records that are used to determine social security benefits.
With a long history of no-match letters starts and stops due to clerical errors and discrepancies, it is no surprise that once more, SSN No-Match Letters are being sent to employers.
If you’ve never received a letter before, that’s great news! But to not be blindsided by what these may look like, you can view examples here.
What is the cause of no-match?
- Individual does not have a valid social security number
- Individual has been a victim of identity theft
- Individual fabricated SSN to work in the US
- Reporting or data-entry error made by the employee, employer, or the SSA
- If an employee has a name discrepancy, including an unreported name change, having a hyphenated last name, or having multiple last names
What to do if you receive a letter?
The letters will not include names and actual Social Security numbers of the employees with the mismatched SSNs as they did in the past. In order to find out which employee(s) you’re receiving the letter for, it has been advised to:
- Register for the Business Services Online (BSO)
- Input Activation Codes in BSO (one-time required step to retrieve name and SSN errors)
- Retrieve Name and SSN Errors
- Use the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS)
- Notify your employee(s) and work with them to resolve the error. Here is a notice letter template you can use to communicate the error to your employee(s).
- If there are any errors made on the employee’s W-2, Payroll Systems can correct them and file Form W-2C on your behalf. (Please contact your Payroll Client Manager if you are interested in this service).
- For any further assistance, contact the SSA toll-free at 1(800)-772-6270 on weekdays between 7AM and 7PM EST.
If you do not take any action, you can be scrutinized and pinged by the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as having already known that you’ve employed an unauthorized worker. However, if you take adverse action against your employee after receiving this letter (i.e. terminating said employee), you may be sued for discrimination.
How to prevent no-match
Looking forward, avoiding the receipt of these letters altogether should be made a priority for your organization. One way to do this is to use the SSNVS (access included in your BSO registration), which checks the names, DOBs, and SSNs for new hires against the SSA database.
Another way is to review SSNs for new employees for numbers like 111111, 000000, or 123456789. These will be invalid.