Starting in March 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began sending Social Security Number (SSN) no-match letters to employers for the first time in almost a decade. The SSA sends these letters upon discovery that the W-2 records submitted by the employer don’t match the records on file at the SSA. Employers don’t necessarily need to be alarmed, these letters are a warning to employers to carefully check their employee information.
Why Do Employers Receive No-Match Letters?
There are several reasons that could cause the records of the SSA and the employer to be mismatched. For example, the employer or employee could have innocently incorrectly entered the SSN of the employee as a clerical error, or perhaps the employee has changed their name. However, there are other, more serious reasons employers can receive these letters: identity theft, falsification, or even a completely made up SSN. It’s important for employers to take these no-match letters seriously and take the steps to resolve the issue at hand.
After Receiving a No-Match Letter:
Upon receiving a no-match letter, employers should follow step-by-step instructions given by the SSA, and mapped out below. If an employer neglects to follow these steps, the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may act and assume that the employer has constructive knowledge that they have an unauthorized worker. Conversely, if the employer acts against an employee based solely on the no-match letter, the employer can be sued for discrimination of the employee. Thus, employers should make sure to follow these steps upon receiving a letter:
- Register for Business Services Online (BSO)
- Input Activation Codes in BSO. This is a one-time step to access the name and SSN of the employee in question
- Retrieve the name and SSN errors
- Use the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS)
- Work with employee(s) to resolve the error. The SSA provides a sample Social Security Number Verification Letter employers can give to employees
- Fix the error(s) using W-2c
*Helpful videos and thorough instructions can be found here under the “Step-by-step instruction to find and resolve errors” dropdown courtesy of the SSA.
To avoid receiving no-match letters in the future, employers should use E-Verify which checks the name, date of birth, and SSN of new employees against the SSA’s database. While E-Verify can’t find instances of identity theft, it can prevent most SSN mismatches with the SSA.
If you have any questions on how to enroll with E-Verify, please contact DecisionHR at
1-888-828-5511 and discuss with your assigned Human Resources Business Partner.