Last month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reinstated a policy of notifying employers who have at least one name and Social Security Number (SSN) combination submitted on a Wage and Tax Statement (Form W-2) that do not match their records by sending Employer Correction Request notices, or “no-match letters.” The purpose of the letter is to advise employers that corrections are needed in order to properly post its employee’s earnings to the correct record. Employers should start receiving them this month.
The SSA started sending these letters in 1993 and expected employers to follow up and make corrections, and/or identify employees using false Social Security numbers. This continued until 2012, when the Obama administration stopped sending the letters and rescinded the regulations regarding follow-up.
According to the SSA, there are several steps to take to find and resolve errors. Employers can:
Register for Business Services Online to retrieve name and SSN errors;
Use the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS);
Work with employees to resolve the error with a Social Security Number verification letter; and finally,
Fix any errors using a W2-C.
Employers are encouraged to work to resolve the discrepancies and not use the receipt of a no-match notice as a basis for termination or other adverse action until all avenues have been exhausted. There are a number of reasons why reported names and SSNs may not agree with SSA records, such as typographical errors, unreported name changes, and inaccurate or incomplete employer records.
You can find sample notices here.