I-9 Employer Assistance and Social Security “No-Match” Letters

Employers in the U.S. are only authorized to hire individuals who may legally work in the United States, such as citizens or Green Card holders. Each employer is required by law to verify potential employee’s legal eligibility to work in the United States. Part of this process is done by completing the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9). I-9 forms must be kept on file for each employee for a minimum of 3 years after the employee is hired, or for 1 year after employment ends, whichever period is the longest.

The U.S. federal government runs a database called E-Verify, which is designed to help determine the eligibility of an employee to legally work within the U.S. based on the information recorded on their Form I-9. Use of E-Verify will soon be a requirement for all businesses, and those employers who violate the law could be liable for the lost wages of workers and other civil penalties.

Document inspection is the most common way that the government investigates I-9 violations, not the worksite raids which are sometimes documented by the media. Any errors found on I-9 forms, regardless of size, can result in fines for the employer. These errors are found by careful scrutiny during an investigation. Many companies which have been audited in recent years did not employ illegal workers knowingly but made simple mistakes on their I-9 forms that resulted in fines.

Social Security “No-Match” Letters

When the Social Security number of any employee cannot be matched to their name on the employer’s W-2, both the employer and the employee will receive a Social Security “No Match” letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA). This letter is simply a notice that the SSA cannot match up certain information from the I-9 and the W-2, and it does not indict anyone for wrongdoing at this stage. Simple mistakes like typos, name changes, and incomplete information may cause a no-match letter to be sent. Receiving a no-match letter should not automatically trigger any adverse reactions towards the employee.

Any employers who receive a no-match letter should tread carefully to avoid a response that could potentially lead to civil or criminal penalties. One example is when an employer ignores the letter or fails to comply with new rulings made by the SSA, they can face a hefty fine as a penalty.

If you want to know more about the appropriate way to respond to an I-9 dispute or Social Security no-match letter, contact Anaheim Immigration Attorney Fady Eskandar. You can get a free consultation today to discuss how to proceed in your case.