Social Security Administration Discontinues No-Match Letters
By: Vi Applen
In 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that, for the first time since 2007, it would resume issuing no-match letters, also called EDCOR or Educational Correspondence letters. No-match letters notify employers that an employee’s name and Social Security number (SSN) as reported on W-2 records do not match SSA’s record of the employee and their SSN. The purpose of a no-match letter is to advise employers that corrections are needed for the SSA to properly post employees’ earnings to the correct Social Security record. After the practice was resumed in 2019, the SSA issued approximately 803,000 no-match letters to employers. In 2020, the SSA issued approximately 791,000 no-match letters to employers.
A no-match letter requests employers to review the discrepancies through a designated SSA online portal, inform employees of the no-match, and submit corrected information to the SSA within 60 days to enable the SSA to reconcile the employer’s wage reports and properly credit the employee’s earnings to his or her Social Security records.
A no-match letter does not necessarily mean an employee lacks work authorization or intentionally provided misleading information. As the SSA website explains: “There are a number of reasons why reported names and [Social Security Numbers] may not agree with [the Social Security Administration’s] records, such as typographical errors, unreported name changes, and inaccurate or incomplete employer records.” Even so, employee fraud could also be the reason for the mismatch.
As a result, employers who are the recipients of no-match letters may find it difficult to balance the competing interests of their obligation to investigate and correct the mismatch, yet avoid actions that could be considered discriminatory toward employees in responding to the letters.
However, in a recent, dramatic policy shift and without so much as a press release, the SSA announced that it has discontinued mailing no-match letters to employers. The SSA stated:
In March of 2019, we began mailing notifications to employers identified as having at least one name and combination submitted on Form W-2 that do not match our record. The purpose of the letter is to advise employers that corrections are needed in order for us to properly post its employee’s earnings to the correct record and to educate them about the tools available on BSO.
At present, we are discontinuing EDCOR letters to focus on making it a better, easier, more convenient experience for employers to report wages electronically. We also will continue to seek out new opportunities to educate employers.
The SSA announcement is a welcome change to many employers, as COVID-19 restrictions are ending and hiring/rehiring workers is well underway.
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