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Social Security No Match Letters Are Back! What Does That Mean For You?

In December 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that beginning in March 2019, it would begin mailing letters to employers where a name and/or social security number did not match the SSA’s records. These “No Match” letters are not new—they have been around since the 1990s—but they have not been issued since 2012 and could ultimately affect your business.

The “No Match” letters can be the result of a variety of reasons, many of which do not carry legal consequences and are easily correctable. However, when a “No Match” letter is issued because the employee has a valid social security number and does not have the right to work in the U.S., it is not something that is to be taken lightly.

While no direct legal consequences immediately stem from the letter itself, there could ultimately be legal consequences from the Department of Homeland Security in the immigration arena for the hiring of employees that do not have the right to work in the U.S. It is a civil violation for an employer to knowingly continue to employ a person that is not authorized to work in the U.S. and civil violations can result in fines up to almost $22,000 per violation.

It is important to note two very important things after you have received a “No Match” letter from the SSA:

  1. You do not face any immediate legal consequences if the employee named in the letter does not have the right to work in the U.S. as the courts have ruled that the notice itself does not mean the employer has knowledge that his employee is not authorized to work in the U.S.; and
  2. You cannot take any action against the employee named in the letter, such as laying off, suspending or firing the employee.

What can be done and what should be done when receiving a “No Match” letter is that you conduct an I-9 audit and correct any mistakes that you find. The best defense against “No Match” letters is a good offense.

At Cotney Construction Law, we can be that guide and review your personnel records and help identify any inaccuracies that may trigger a “No Match” letter. Now is the time to be proactive and audit your I-9s before you get a “No Match” letter. Contact us now before it’s too late!

Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. Regulations and laws may vary depending on your location. Consult with a licensed attorney in your area if you wish to obtain legal advice and/or counsel for a particular legal issue.