Employer Correction Request notices – also known as “no-match letters” – have been resurrected by the Social Security Administration. LRA General Counsel for Labor and Employment Fisher Phillips recommends employers take these seven steps if you receive a no-match letter.
Step 1 – Understand the letter
- Read carefully (What does it say? What does it not say?)
- Likely, the employee’s name did not match the SS# in the SSA database.
- Log into the SSA Business Services Online (BSO) portal and make the changes within 60 days of receipt of the letter.
2 - Gauge potential impact on your business
- If a handful of employees have been identified as no-matches, the impact is small.
- If the number of no-matches is large, day-to-day operations may be significantly affected.
3 - Review employee records
- Examine the names provided to the company by your employees and the SSNs provided on their W-4 Forms.
- Identify any missing information or typos to ensure it is not a clerical error.
4 - Determine what employee handbook, CBA provisions, or other policies might apply
- A no-match means an employee – intentionally or unintentionally – provided you with false information
- Identify the policies in place that may apply to this situation.
5 – Proceed with Caution
- Avoiding the BSO site may allow the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to, permissibly or impermissibly, view your failure to log onto BSO as proof of your knowledge of the situation.
- If the issue was due to identity theft, an employee could claim that your failure to log onto the site ended up causing them economic damage.
- Before you notify employees of the no-match letter, be sure to check payroll and your records. DO NOT USE THE LETTER TO DEMAND NEW I-9s.
- When you notify employees, be sure to document and take action.
6 – Respond to the SSA
- After visiting the BSO site and addressing the no-matches, file Forms W-2C to inform the SSA and also send a letter to the SSA office.
7 - Assess Your I-9 Compliance
- Review your I-9 compliance.
The SSA’s decision to re-start issuing no-match letters may place employers in a no-win situation. Once you log onto the BSO site, you cannot ignore your knowledge of the no-match letter. If you do not log in to the BSO, the government may infer that you knew of a potential problem with undocumented employees. Be proactive and review your I-9s.
This Legal Alert has been significantly condensed for publication and provides an overview of a specific federal development. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation. For the entire article, please visit https://www.fisherphillips.com/resources-alerts-an-employers-7-step-guide-to-navigating.