Tag: social security

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.

Each I-9 Form Error Can Cost Up To $1,400

Per the Immigration Reform and Control Act, all employers must have their employees complete an I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  It’s also important to send in a W-2 Form or 1099 Form.  All HRI Members can access the I-9 Form in Answers >> Onboarding >> Validate the Right to Work in the U.S.  Employees are required to provide documentation as to their eligibility to work in the U.S.  The documents an employer can accept are on page two of the form.  It is important that you keep completed I-9’s and supporting documentation in a binder separate from personnel files and locked for safe keeping.  Although the act does not require employers to make a copy of the Form I-9 documents, federal officers have commented that they prefer to see a copy of the documents when performing audits.  Having the copies available can go a long way to show that an employer has complied with the act’s verification process in good faith.

Some common offenses are:

  • Failure to properly complete an I-9
  • Knowingly hiring, continuing to employ, or contacting to obtain the services of a person without employment validation
  • Providing or knowingly accepting false social security cards
  • Pattern and practice of I-9 compliance failure

Your Organization can protect itself by:

  • Provide someone to read and/or explain the I-9 Form to applicants/employees who are unable to read or understand the form
  • Remember to have the person who assisted the applicant/employee complete the preparer/translator section of the I-9 Form
  • Require applicants who are citizens and nationals of the U.S. to complete the I-9 Form and present the required documents
  • Don’t accept photocopies of documents; employees/applicants must present original documents