Social Security Administration Resumes No-Match Letters

In March of 2019, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) resumed mailing notices to employers identified as having at least one employee with a name and social security number (“SSN”) combination that does not match the SSA’s records. [See, https://www.ssa.gov/employer/notices.html].  The SSA calls these letters “Employer Correction Request Notices (EDCOR)” but they are commonly referred to as SSA “no-match” letters.

What is the purpose of the SSA no-match letter?

The purpose of the SSA no-match letter is to ensure that worker earnings are properly credited, which can affect workers’ retirement, survivor, disability, or other benefits administered by SSA in the future.  The no-match letters also assist employers with accurate wage reporting. There are many reasons why reported names and SSNs may not match SSA records, including typographical errors, unreported name changes, and inaccurate or incomplete employer records. No-match letters are not notices about employee misconduct, wrongdoing or immigration status.

Where does SSA get the information to send a no-match letter?

The information SSA uses to determine whether there is a no-match is based on IRS Form W-2, which employers must send to the SSA and the IRS in order to report the deductions and taxes withheld from a worker’s earnings. When workers are first hired, they are required to fill out the Form W-4 for payroll purposes. Employers then take the basic information (name, address, SSN, number of exemptions) from the W-4 and report it on the W-2.

What should an employer do in response to a no-match letter?

When an employer receives a no-match letter for an employee, the employer should simply check that he or she has properly reported the employee’s name and SSN to the SSA & IRS. The employer should then give a copy of the letter to the employee and note in the employee’s personnel file that the employee has received a copy.

While the no-match letter states that employers should respond within 60 days, the no-match letter is silent about the consequences, if any, to employers who fail to respond.

Should an employer fire or discipline workers because of a no-match letter?

No. The no-match letter that employers receive contains strong language warning employers to not use the letter to take adverse action against workers, including laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against an individual who appears on the list. The letter also emphasizes that it does not address the “employee’s work authorization or immigration status.” [See, https://www.ssa.gov/employer/notices/EmployerCorrectionRequest.pdf]

How can Unions ensure that employers do not misuse no-match letters?

You may consider doing the following in the event an employer receives a no-match letter.

  • Continue to enforce any contract language concerning SSA no-match letters.
  • Demand the employer bargain with the Union regarding the employer’s response to no-match letters.
  • Remind the employer it may not take adverse action against any employee based on the no-match letter.
  • Ensure the employer follows the proper response of notifying the employee, correcting any information provided by the employee, and making a note in the employee’s personnel file.

For a sample Union response to an employer upon receipt of a no-match letter, contact Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld or your labor law counsel.

By Monica Guizar | July 10, 2019

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