Seyfarth Shaw Los Angeles partner Angelo Paparelli co-wrote an article published in the New York Law Journal on April 26. The article discussed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) practice of notifying employers of the need for cooperation when resolving discrepancies, and it provided suggestions to employers on how to prepare themselves and take appropriate measures to avoid potential immigration penalties.
The no-match letters sent by SSA allow the agency to correct information that helps identify workers and earnings, so that they can be properly credited to that worker's Social Security record.
Steps suggested by Angelo include the following: review the no-match letter with the employee in a timely manner, review employer records and have the employee review his or her documents, let the employee know that the employer has verified its records to ensure that there are no errors on the employer's behalf, ask the employee to request an letter rectifying the situation with SSA if the information is correct, and give the employee a "reasonable amount" of time to clear the issue with SSA.
Angelo also points out potential risks and duties for employers, should deadlines expire, evidence to rectify the situation is lacking, or a third party puts an employer on notice of a Social Security number discrepancy. Also noted are the facts that the no-match letters are being issued for 2010 and subsequent tax years and "educational correspondence" no-match letters previously sent by SSA have been discontinued.
The article concludes by stating, "For employers whose I-9s are audited by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), however, an employer's response to a SSA no-match letter will certainly be an important 'element of evidence' that ICE agents focus upon in assessing the employer's I-9 compliance and potential criminal liability."