From Michael’s desk

¡Ponte trucho! No Match Letters are On the Way Once again

Photo by Doug Yarrow. Michael explains pending Wage Theft legislation in our 2015 advocacy day.

Veterans of the struggle to support immigrants living in this country will remember the problems that arose from “no match” letters in the last decade.  A “no match” letter is a notification to an employer that the social security number the employer is using to report wages for an employee does not match the employee’s name in SSA’s data base. This can come about for a number of reasons, including change of name after marriage, misspelling or transposition of numbers in the employer’s records, or use of an incorrect number.  The receipt of a no-match letter does not indicate anything about the worker’s status, and does not require the employer to terminate the employee.  Because of problems in administering this system, the practice of sending out no-match letters ended more than ten years ago.

In July 2018 the Trump Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that, beginning in the spring of 2019, it will send no-match letters to every employer that has at least one Social Security “no-match.” The stated purpose of these letters is to assure that workers affected will be able to claim the social security benefits attributable to these wages. However, the transparent purpose in taking this action is to make life as miserable as possible for immigrants living in the US.

We can do some things to prepare. Above all, workers need to know that, once they have initially verified their eligibility to work, details about their immigration status are private and should not be discussed with others, including employers. Even with ICE, they have the right to remain silent. Employee representatives can negotiate with employers about how these letters will be handled.  For more information about how to respond see NILC's FAQ page.