Recently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced it will stop the practice of sending employer No-Match letters. No-Match letters are notifications informing employers that an individual employee’s W-2 form does not match SSA’s records. Accordingly, immigration advocates and employers praised the discontinuation of letters (known to some as EDCOR notifications). The announcement comes as businesses start the hiring or rehiring process for eliminated positions due to COVID-19. Similarly, also involving employee verification, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division has announced an extension to Form I-9 compliance.

Background of No-Match Letters

In 2018, the SSA restarted sending employer No-Match letters when information submitted to the agency caused a “mismatch.” It’s important to note that a No-Match letter does not necessarily mean that an employee was illegally working. Mismatches could have been caused by:

  • administrative errors,
  • misspelled names,
  • reversed numbers, or
  • name changes (such as due to marriage).

Nevertheless, employers receiving No-Match letters needed to check for recordkeeping errors and instruct employees to resolve issues with the SSA.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, businesses received 1.6 million employer No-Match letters in 2019 and 2020.

Overview of Recent Changes

The SSA did not announce the cancellation of No-Match letters through a news release. On the contrary, in April 2020, the SSA posted on its website an “Educational Correspondence to Employers.” Within the post, the SSA stated the following:

“…we are discontinuing [no-match] letters to focus on…a better…more convenient experience for employers to report wages electronically. We also will continue to seek out new opportunities to educate employers.”

Additionally, the agency stated that employees would not receive any credit for earnings if the information does not match a Form W-2. Consequently, the worker may not qualify for Social Security benefits, or the benefit amount may be incorrect.

Employer Takeaways

In conclusion, the SSA’s updates emphasize the importance of employees placing correct information on government forms. This removes some of the responsibilities from the employers themselves. Employers, however, still need to be responsible when it comes to other aspects of employment verification. For example, the collection of correct information to submit Form I-9s for new employees remains the same. There are currently no plans announced regarding any changes to that current process.