The Social Security Administration announced recently that is will recommence issuing “no-match” letters to employers and payroll companies. No-match letters are issued when the agency receives payments or other information which is not associated with the correct social security number.
As the correspondence will indicate, the no-match could be indicative of a records issue: perhaps the social security number was inputted incorrectly, or perhaps there is incorrect information on the individual for which there is not a match. No-matches however also may be indication that an employee is not able to work lawfully in the country.
What is an employer to do? It is usually not a good idea to ignore such information, as avoiding the issue may create issues if the government comes to audit I-9s or otherwise investigate unlawful employment issues. In all likelihood, it may also be prudent to draft a letter to the employee, giving them opportunity to contact the Social Security Administration and correct the issue, followed up with periodic, documented inquiries on the status of such efforts.
It may be prudent to seek counsel on the matter, and we are happy to assist. The Administration has ramped up efforts to enforce worksite compliance with immigration laws. The fines can be significant, and if an employer or even HR Representative has constructive knowledge that they are employing someone illegally, there is the possibility of criminal sanctions. Enforcement actions have hit a broad range of industries and regions. An employer who is holding no-match letters may be deemed to have constructive knowledge of an issue, and so taking steps to address the issue is prudent.