Swerving off their “Save Social Security” script, Democrats on Capitol Hill are assailing an initiative that purports to protect the program.
Forty-six House Democrats are demanding that the Social Security Administration (SSA) not send Employer Correction Request Notices to businesses where employee W-2 forms do not match SSA records. The group, led by Rep. Jesus García, D-Ill., alleged that the “no-match letters” are part of a Trump administration crackdown on illegal immigration.
While members of Congress may certainly debate immigration policy – please do! — it’s hard to fathom objections to maintaining accurate government records.
“If we cannot match the name and Social Security number reported on a W-2 to our records, we cannot credit earnings to a worker’s record,” SSA spokesman Mark Hinkle noted. “When earnings are missing, the worker may not qualify for Social Security benefits he or she is due or the benefit amount may be incorrect.”
Amid rampant identity fraud — including rising theft of Social Security numbers – foreign nationals and illegal aliens are tapping into the system. It’s imperative that steps be taken to uncover and root out grifters who illegally siphon off benefits.
SSA started sending no-match letters in 1993, but did not begin requiring employers to terminate unverified workers until 2007. The program itself was terminated that year. The Obama administration revived the no-match letters in 2011 without the termination requirement. That effort was discontinued just a year later.
The Trump administration re-launched no-match letters in March, with a directive to inform employers about discrepancies with the SSA database.
While it sounds good, the latest iteration is not an ironclad defense against fraud. A sample of the new no-match letter from the SSA website directs an employer to compare the information online to the company’s employment records and to correct any typographical errors. If the discrepancy is not typographical, the employer asks the employee to correct the records. It does not require the employer to fire workers who refuse.
Rep. Garcia & Co., aren’t letting the facts get in the way of their political hustle. “Other than to instill fear … this is one more tool to drive the immigrant community into the shadows of society,” he declared last week, conflating legal immigrants whose interest are protected by no-match letters and illegal aliens who engage in identity fraud.
The congressman’s rhetoric notwithstanding, SSA’s latest measure may not be the silver bullet that prevents illegal aliens from claiming American jobs. But in the absence of mandatory E-Verify to universally vet job applicants, no-match letters can be useful instruments and should be employed to the fullest extent of the law.