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Employer No-Match Letters

Social Security Administration Employer No-Match Letter

Each year the SSA sends thousands of letters entitled "Employer Correction Request," commonly known as "No-Match letters" or "Mismatch letters" to employers informing them that the Social Security Numbers which they have provided for certain employees on Forms W-2 do not match the SSA's records. The purpose of a No-Match letter is to request the employer's cooperation in correcting the discrepancy in order to ensure that Social Security benefits for eligible workers are accurate. Although there are legitimate reasons for a mismatch (e.g., a clerical error or a name change), the use of a false Social Security Number or using someone else's Social Security Number is often the reason.

Section 274A(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states, "It is unlawful for a person or other entity, after hiring an alien for employment…to continue to employ the alien in the United States knowing the alien is (or has become) an unauthorized alien with respect to such employment." Accordingly, an employer must take reasonable steps to resolve each mismatch and must apply reasonable steps uniformly to all employees referenced in the No-Match letter.

The SSA has clearly stated that a No-Match letter "is not a basis, in itself, for [employers] to take any adverse action against the employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against the individual…and makes no statement about the employee's immigration status." In fact, an employer could face document abuse or discrimination charges if adverse action, including re-verification of the Form I-9 and its supporting documents, is taken against the employee based solely upon the No-Match letter.

An employer who receives a No-Match letter should first make sure that it is not due to a clerical mistake or a name change. Once that has been confirmed, the employer has five business days to advise the employee of the problem and to ask the employee to verify that the information on the Form I-9 is correct. The employer must not ask the employee for any additional documentation. If the employer learns from the employee or another source that the Social Security Number is false, the employer must immediately terminate the employee. If the employee verifies that the information provided on the Form I-9 is correct, the employer should advise the SSA that the employee has verified the information and request further instruction from the SSA.

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