Social Security Administration Resumes Sending No Match Letters

After a nearly three-year hiatus, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will resume sending letters to employers to notify them when an employee is using a social security number that does not match agency records. The letters will cover tax year 2010.

In 2007, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) alerted employers that receipt of an SSA no match letter could constitute notice that an employee may not be legally authorized to work in the United States. In that rule, ICE provided a safe harbor for employers to follow to investigate and remedy the no match information. Failure to follow the safe harbor procedure would expose employers to liability for knowingly employing unauthorized workers.
The 2007 rule, however, never actually took effect, as it was caught up in litigation. While the litigation was pending, the SSA stopped sending no match letters to employers. In 2010, ICE rescinded the safe harbor rule, but continues to impose liability on employers who receive no match letters and take no action. The difference, of course, is that after the rescission employers have no legally prescribed path to follow. Still, employers must have a plan in place to address the latest round of no match letters.
“In this era of aggressive enforcement against employers, SSA no-match letters cannot be ignored,” says MSEC Manager of Immigration Services Ryan Adair.
Adair advises that employers be proactive by implementing a policy that carefully and thoughtfully balances the obligation to resolve the mismatch without violating anti-discrimination laws.