Social Security Number “NO-MATCH” Regulation Halted by Federal Judge
On August 31, 2007, U.S. District Court Judge Maxine Chesney issued an order temporarily blocking implementation of DHS Immigration Customs and Enforcement regulation on the legal obligations of an employer when it receives a “no-match letter” from the Social Security Administration.
On October 11, 2007 U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer ordered the implementation delayed indefinitely by issuing a preliminary injunction against implementation of the final DHS Safe Harbor procedures. Judge Breyer stated that the government had failed to follow proper procedures for issuing a new rule, chastising DHS for making a policy change with “massive ramifications” for employers without giving any legal explanation or conducting a required survey of the costs and impact for small businesses.
Subsequently, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted DHS’ motion to stay proceedings until March 1, 2008, pending a new rulemaking effort that DHS maintains will address the court’s concerns with its regulation on SSA no-match letters.
On October 23, 2008, DHS announced that it has now issued a Supplemental Final Rule addressing the court’s concerns, and that it will shortly petition the court to remove the injunction. See http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1224771455239.shtm.
No-match letters, which advise employers that social security numbers submitted to the Social Security Administration for verification can often be the result of innocent mistakes, including name changes, typographical errors, or the use of multiple surnames.
The DHS regulations which were to have been effective on September 14, 2007 provide Safe Harbor procedures. Safe Harbor rules outline steps an employer may take in response to receiving no-match letter from the Social Security Administration, or receiving notice from DHS that documents received by an employee do not match government records.
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