The Return of 'No-Match' Letters: How Employers Should Respond

By: Kyle D. Kring

The Social Security Administration ("SSA") has once again begun issuing employers "Request for Employer Information" letters, better known as "No-Match" letters (view sample letter here). The SSA sends no-match letters to those employers identified as having at least one name and Social Security Number ("SSN") combination submitted on Form W-2 that do not match SSA records.

This practice began in 1993 although the SSA has been extremely inconsistent distributing no-match letters throughout the years due in part to litigation and various administrations. Nonetheless, the no-match letters are back are employers should be aware of how to best respond when receiving them.

Employers must keep in mind that receiving a letter does not necessarily indicate wrongdoing by the employee. There are a number of reasons why an employer may receive a no-match letter, including, but not limited to, typographical errors, unreported name changes due to marriage or divorce, and inaccurate or incomplete employer records.

What employers should do...

  • (1) First and foremost, as the SSA explicitly states in the no-match letter itself, employers should not take any adverse action against an employee.
  • (2) Visit the website link detailed in the letter to view mismatched names and SSNs.
  • (3) Check employee records for any copies of paperwork that might be helpful in determining the source of an administrative error.

Contacting the employee(s)...

  • (1) Notify the employee(s) (see sample letter employers can give to employees here).
  • (2) Explain the letter to the employee(s) and formally request that they confirm the name and SSN that is recorded in their employee record.
  • (3) Advise the employee(s) the contact the SSA to correct or update their SSA records, and give them a reasonable period of time to address the reported no-match with the local SSA office before taking any other actions (SSA notes that some issues can take up to 120 days to resolve).

After contacting the employee(s)...

  • (1) Periodically check-in with the employee(s) for updates on the status of the employee's no-match.
  • (2) Submit any necessary corrections to the SSA.

Although the steps listed above are helpful, employers should, at the least, contact legal counsel upon receipt of no-match letters. Each situation is unique and deserves attention in order to resolve the potential issues associated with no-match letters. Contact an experienced employment attorney at Kring & Chung, LLP for assistance and advice regarding no-match letters.

Kyle D. Kring is a Partner of Kring & Chung, LLP. He can be reached at (949) 261-7700 or via e-mail at kkring@kringandchung.com

For more resources, visit the Department of Justice links below:
Name/SSN "No-Matches" Information for Employers
FAQs About Name/SSN "No-Matches"

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