Tag: employment eligibility

The Return of No-Match Letters

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has resumed sending employers no-match letters, Mary Pivec, an attorney with Keller and Heckman, told SHRM Online in an April 12, 2011, interview. The SSA stopped sending no-match letters after litigation arose in 2007 challenging a proposed no-match rule issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Match letters are issued by the SSA when a certain employee’s name does not match a valid SSN.  The proposed no-match rule was to declare that any no-match letter was not enough to declare a worker ineligible.  The proposed rule provides guidelines for employers to respond to the letters in compliance with immigration laws, but after the rule was challenged in federal court in 2007 it was enjoined from moving forward.
Employers now are left with the question of how to respond to no-match letters in the absence of a no-match rule, Pivec said. The no-match letter says that employers do not have to respond to the letter. However, if employers don’t respond, the SSA may refer the matter to the Internal Revenue Service or the Justice Department for criminal prosecution of Social Security fraud, Pivec cautioned.

Employers should give employees whose Social Security numbers don’t match their names a reasonable period to resolve a no-match, which Pivec said is 60 to 120 days. Employers should not ignore the letters, she cautioned. When the no-match letters come in, note the date they arrived and have an action plan on how to respond.  Once HR knows about the receipt of a no-match letter, it should make sure that the no-match didn’t result from a typo or other mix-up in its own records.

People who might receive the letters include the chief financial officer (CFO), a tax preparer and an outside accounting firm. Because HR probably will not be the recipient, HR should contact the CFO now to let that person know these letters may be coming in and what to do if they receive a letter.

The resumption of SSA no-match letters became effective as of March 22, 2011.

New E-Verify Self-Check

On March 21, 2011, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the launch of E-Verify Self Check, a direct extension of the E-Verify service which will allow individuals seeking employment access to their employment eligibility status.  The service will include detailed instructions in both Spanish and English for those individuals needing to correct their records.  Currently, the online program is being tested in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The service will allow prospective employees to ensure their work eligibility information is correct and they will no longer have to wait for employers to show them where the red flags are within this information.  This seems to be a step in the right direction for employment verification.  Though it does conjure up the issue that if put in the hands of employers who do not follow the letter of the law, this system backfires.  It has been brought up that some employers may require this E-Verify Self Check from candidates before submitting their job application, thus, swinging the duty of establishing eligibility to the candidate.  This is illegal and viewed as pre-screening.

As an employer, you may consider bringing in outside consulting to develop your best practices for dealing with E-Verify.  Also, in developing an outline for these practices, it will help define proper use of the E-Verify system and any oversight that you deem necessary.  According to the DHS, they expect the service to generate up to 1 million queries this year and over 8 million per year when the service is expanded to every state.