The Social Security Administration (SSA) will begin mailing Employer Correction Request Notices – often referred to as Social Security No-Match Letters – later this month. The notice alerts the employer that some employee names and/or Social Security Numbers (SSNs) that the employer submitted on 2018 Forms W-2 do not match the SSA’s records.
Oftentimes mis-matches between names and SSNs are due to simple mistakes or outdated information, such as spelling or data entry errors or unreported name changes after marriage or divorce. Accurate information is important since errors could result in an employee not receiving the correct amount of disability or retirement benefits in the future. Note, however, that SSA no-match letters do not pertain to anyone’s immigration status or authorization to work in the United States.
Employers that receive SSA no-match letters are advised to take the following steps:
DO NOT take adverse action against the employee. The SSA instructs employers as follows:
“You should not use this letter to take any adverse action against an employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against that individual, just because his or her SSN or name does not match our records. Any of those actions could, in fact, violate State or Federal law and subject you to legal consequences.”
Lastly, note that employers can help avoid mis-matches by comparing their employees’ information against the SSA’s records before they prepare Forms W-2. Employers and payroll administrators are encouraged to use the free Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS), available through the BSO site, to check that employee names and SSNs match the government’s records.