HR Management & Compliance

Social Security No-Match Letters Are Back, But with a Tweak to the Timing

Social Security no-match letters are on the uptick. They let employers know an employee’s name and Social Security number (SSN), as reported on W-2 forms, don’t match government records. Here’s what you need to know to keep your operations compliant.

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Challenge

In 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) resurrected the practice of issuing the no-match letters. They generally ask employers to review the discrepancies, inform employees about the mismatch, and submit corrected information on a Form W-2C within 60 days.

During the pandemic, we saw a significant decline in the number of no-match letters received by employers. They seem to be back, but this time missing a key element.

Process

The letters generally require you to check your records first for typographical errors:

  • If they’re found, file the W-2C to correct them.
  • If no typos are apparent, ask the employee to check his SS card and let you know about any name or number differences between it and your records, and report any differences on a W-2C.

If the process doesn’t clear up the issue (i.e., your records match the card), you should instruct the employee to contact the SSA to resolve the matter. Once the individual has reached out to the agency and fixed the problem, you should report the changes on a W-2C by the employer. Notably, it appears the 60-day time requirement has been removed.

Timing

The most recent no-match letters are being issued without the language advising employers to respond within 60 days. Instead, they include an attachment instructing you to submit a W-2C to correct any mismatch “as soon as you can.”

The change could be pandemic-related, or perhaps the SSA is acknowledging that resolving the issues often takes longer than 60 days. Regardless, the omission of the timeframe from the letter doesn’t eradicate your need to comply.

Bottom Line

Employers receiving no-match letters should continue to work with experienced immigration counsel to complete the process and determine what steps might be required to avoid future liability.

Elizabeth A. Coonan is an attorney with Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines. You can reach her at elizabethcoonan@davisbrownlawfirm.com.