Addressing the "No Match" Crisis and SSA

Arise Chicago and National Coalition End SSA’s Most Egregious “No Match” Language. 

Changes critically include eliminating arbitrary, impossible deadline

After significant push back from Arise Chicago, national organizations, and Congressional Representatives, the Social Security Administration changed the most egregious language in the infamous, chaos-causing “No Match” letters. 

This Spring, the Social Security Administration sent EDCOR (“No-Match”) letters to 577,000 employers with workers with some discrepancy in their personal information (such as name, date of birth or Social Security number), inviting employers to make corrections using the Social Security electronic database. These corrections are necessary to deposit contributions in workers’ correct benefits accounts. However, many including local, state, and national elected officials identified the “No Match” flood as a direct attack on immigrant workers by the federal administration. Many employers were confused by the letters, and improperly fired workers, or gave incorrect deadlines to comply. The confusion caused chaos for employers and crisis for working families. 

Over the summer Arise Chicago joined a small but powerful national coalition, upon discovering the SSA intended to send another 300,000 letters in the Fall. Together, the coalition influenced SSA to omit the most egregious language in their letters to employers, including a 60-day deadline for employers to make corrections. In fact, workers themselves can make corrections with the SSA. The process may take months.  

Arise Chicago was contacted by hundreds of workers starting this summer under the first batch of “No Match” letters. Workers reported a variety of negative employer action--from giving arbitrary and impossible 10-day deadlines, to threatened firing, to mass firing workers. Many included workers who held their jobs for 5, 10, or 20 years, causing economic displacement for families. The organization then created informational materials for workers in Spanish, Polish, and English, including flyers and videos. Arise also created a “No Match” Toolkit to support workers and advocates to protect workers from unjust firing.

Arise held a press conference in July with elected officials, including Illinois Rep. Aaron Ortiz (1), Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya (7), Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez (25), and representative from Ald. Sue Sadlowski Garza’s office (10) each spoke about the need to inform both workers and employers about the “no match” crisis. See coverage of the press conference from Univision NationalChicago TribuneWGN TVUnivision Chicago, Hoy Los Angeles, and Mundo Hispánico. In light of the changes from SSA, Arise Chicago just released an updated version of its Toolkit, available online.

What causes a “No Match” and what should workers and employers do?

Discrepancies may happen under many circumstances such as typos, accidentally entering wrong data, workers changing names or surnames, and simply missing information, and errors when spelling complicated names and surnames in languages other than English. The most common reason for a “no match” is a simple clerical error. That is why SSA “No Match” letters explicitly state that there is no relationship with immigration status, and that employers should not take any negative action against workers. 

The original letters asked employers make corrections, if any, in 60 days. This led to employers erroneously think they had a deadline to comply with, and many gave workers arbitrary deadlines to present more or new information, or be dismissed, despite the fact that the letters clearly state that employers should not “take any action against a worker, such as firing, suspending, punishing or discriminating against him simply because his Social Security or name does not match our records. Any of those actions could, in fact, violate state or federal laws and create legal consequences. "

In November, the Social Security Administration sent a new “No Match” letter to employers, but changed its message. It now states that if after trying to correct a mistake it is not possible to do it, the employer should not take any further steps and there are no deadlines to comply with.

A letter from the Interim Commissioner of Social Security to Congressman Jim Costa also clarifies that the Social Security "will not take any action, nor are there any consequences for the employers who receive the letters." There is also the clear remark that "the SSA does not take any specific action other than sending the letter to the employer," and that "the SSA is not a law enforcement agency and our function has limited scope to try to ensure that we credit your earnings to each worker ..."

In short, the Social Security does not impose fines or punish employers who do not act when they receive a “No Match” letter.

Under the new guidelines, employers should simply notify workers of the mismatch, and workers should try to correct any mistakes without any timelines. This is strictly a question between workers and the Social Security. The SSA states that  workers have “up to three years and three months to correct any discrepancy on their earnings..."

Workers and employers can contact Arise Chicago Worker Center if they have any doubts as to how to proceed when receiving a No Match letter from the Social Security Administration.

See Arise Chicago's updated "No Match" Toolkit here.



Arise Chicago y una Coalición Nacional Logran que el Seguro Social Cambie las Cartas No Match

El mayor cambio elimina los plazos arbitrarios para corregir errores

Una alianza de Arise Chicago, organizaciones nacionales y funcionarios electos logró que la Administración del Seguro Social cambiara el terrible y confuso texto de las cartas “No Match”. 

A principios de este año la Administración del Seguro Social envió cartas EDCOR ("No-Match") a 575,000 compañías con trabajadores con alguna discrepancia en su información personal (como nombre, fecha de nacimiento o número de Seguro Social), invitándolos  a hacer correcciones usando la base de datos electrónica del Seguro Social. Los datos son necesarios para depositar las contribuciones en las cuentas correctas de beneficios de los trabajadores.

After significant push back from Arise Chicago, national organizations, and Congressional Representatives, the Social Security Administration changed the most egregious language in the infamous, chaos-causing “No Match” letters. 

Las discrepancias ocurren por muchas causas, como errores tipográficos, ingreso accidental de datos incorrectos, cambios de nombres o apellidos por parte de los trabajadores, o simplemente falta de información y errores al deletrear nombres y apellidos complicados en idiomas diferentes al inglés. Por eso las cartas SSA "No Match" dicen explícitamente que no hay relación con el estado migratorio o que los trabajadores hayan mentido intencionalmente.

Las cartas originales pedían a los patrones que hicieran correcciones, si las hubiera, en 60 días. Esto llevó a los patrones a pensar erróneamente que tenían un plazo que cumplir, y muchos le dieron a los trabajadores plazos arbitrarios para presentar más o nueva información, o ser despedidos, pese a que las cartas establecen claramente que los empleadores no deben "tomar ninguna medida contra un trabajador, como despedirlo, suspenderlo, castigarlo o discriminarlo simplemente porque su Seguridad Social o su nombre no coinciden con nuestros registros. Cualquiera de esas acciones podría, de hecho, violar las leyes estatales o federales y crear consecuencias legales".

Este mes, la Administración del Seguro Social envió una nueva carta "No Match" a los patrones, pero cambió su mensaje. Ahora dice que si después de tratar de corregir un error no es posible hacerlo, el patrón no debe tomar ninguna medida adicional y no hay plazos para cumplir.

Una carta del Comisionado Interino de Seguridad Social al congresista Jim Costa también aclara que la Seguridad Social "no tomará ninguna medida, ni hay consecuencias para los patrones que reciben las cartas". También indica con claridad que "la SSA no toma ninguna acción específica fuera de enviar la carta al empleador" y que "la SSA no es una agencia de aplicación de la ley y nuestra función tiene un alcance limitado para tratar de garantizar que acreditemos sus ganancias para cada trabajador ... "

Es decir, el Seguro Social no impone multas ni castiga a los empleadores que no actúan cuando reciben una carta de "No Match".

Según las nuevas guías, los patrones simplemente deben notificar a los trabajadores sobre la falta de coincidencia, y los trabajadores deben tratar de corregir cualquier error, sin plazos. Este es estrictamente un asunto entre los trabajadores y la Seguridad Social, y el plazo de la agencia para solicitar correcciones es de tres años y tres meses.

Trabajadores y patrones pueden comunicarse con Arise Chicago Worker Center si tienen dudas sobre cómo proceder cuando reciben una carta de No Match de la Administración del Seguro Social.

Paquete de documentos de "No Match" aquí.



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