After a long hiatus, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has once again started sending the dreaded “no-match” letters that advise employers that their workers are using a social security number that does not coincide with SSA’s records. Effective April 6, 2011, pursuant to a directive from the SSA Commissioner, SSA resumed sending employer decentralized correspondence (DECOR)letters for tax year 2010.

All along, SSA has been sending an employee version of the DECOR letter to employees at their home address if the name and/or social security number listed on the employer’s submitted W-2s did not match the information in the SSA database. Before 2007, if SSA did not have an accurate address for the employee,SSA sent a different version of the DECOR letter directly to the last employer of record, asking the employer to provide the following information to SSA: the employee’s name, social security number, address, and whether or not the employee had ever used another name.

The federal court that heard the challenge to the now rescinded no-match regulation never prohibited SSA from sending the version of the no-match letter SSA had used since 1994 that did not include a Department of Homeland Security(DHS) insert advising employers that they should follow the guidance in its safe harbor regulations. Nevertheless, in 2007, SSA stopped sending employer DECOR letters.

The new version of the SSA employer letter omits the ICE insert that cautioned the employer that failure to act upon receipt of the SSA no-match letter could be construed as constructive knowledge of knowingly continuing to employ unauthorized workers, based on the totality of the circumstances. Click hereto read the full write-up on the new DECOR letters and for tips and strategies for employers. Please contact Bill Flynn, Immigration Practice Leader, with questions or for more information.