Recently employers have started to receive Social Security Number Employee Correction Request Notices. These notices indicate that one or more employee’s SSNs do not match the administration’s records. According to their website, the first notices went out in March, but employers can expect more in the coming months.
In case you’re wondering what these notices look like, the Social Security Administration provides an example letter. These letters are simply advising the employer that the administration cannot post their employee’s income without corrections. It does not mean your employee purposefully mislead you, or the administration, and it should not be used as reasoning for adverse action. In fact, the administration mentions there are many reasons these records might not match. From incorrectly entered names and birthdates, to missing employer records and name changes that weren’t reported correctly. The letter even warns employers:
“IMPORTANT: This letter does not imply that you or your employee intentionally gave the government wrong information about the employee’s name or SSN. This letter does not address your employee’s work authorization or immigration status.
– Social Security Administration Website
You should not use this letter to take any adverse action against an employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against that individual, just because his or her SSN or name does not match our records. Any of those actions could, in fact, violate State or Federal law and subject you to legal consequences.”
If you received one, you should follow the directions on the letter, and those in the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) handbook which has some simple recommended actions. These include comparing the failed SSN with your records to eliminate typographical errors, asking the employee to check their records and potentially asking the employee to correct the issue with the administration. If those attempts fail, employers should document their efforts to obtain the correct information. That documentation along with payroll information should be retained for a period of three years according to SSNVS. The administration is extremely adamant that employees are treated equitably and notes:
- A mismatch is not a basis, in and of itself, for you to take any adverse action against an employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing or discriminating.
- Company policy should be applied consistently to all workers.
- Any employer that uses the failure of the information to match SSA records to take inappropriate adverse action against a worker may violate State or Federal law.
- The information you receive from SSNVS does not make any statement regarding a worker’s immigration status.
HireSafe works with our clients to ensure the most accurate information is passed to the administration. We offer electronic Form I-9 employment eligibility verification through our partner, i9 Advantage. You can avoid mismatch letters by providing the correct information to the administration the first time, and our form I-9 employment eligibility verification can help you do that.