The Department of Homeland Security has issued a supplemental final rule that is designed to clarify the department's No-Match Rule about how to handle Social Security number discrepancies.

It's also designed to help business comply with federal requirements intended to reduce employment of unauthorized workers, according to a department news release.

"The additional information in this supplemental rule addresses the specific items raised by the court, and we expect to be able to quickly implement it," says Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "The No-Match Rule, along with E-Verify, will increasingly make the pleas of ignorance from businesses that seek to exploit illegal labor ring hollow, and equip their responsible competitors with the tools they need to hire and maintain a legal workforce."

Implementation of the No-Match Rule had been stayed following a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco last year.

In March 2008, the department published a proposed supplemental rule that addressed the issues raised by the court.

The department plans to return to the court in the near future to ask that the injunction be lifted so the rule can be implemented.

The no-match rule involves letters that the Social Security Administration sends to employers when employees' names don't correspond to the Social Security numbers they provide.As many as 4 percent of about 250 milliion wage resports the administration receives annually have discrepancies, according to the new release.

In a few cases, the mismatch may be the result of a person who was married and didn't change her last name.

The No-Match Rule details steps employers may take when they receive a no-match letter. Basically, employers have 90 days to fix the discrepancies, which may include terminating the employee in question if the mismatch can't be resolved.

If they follow the steps and have acted in good faith, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not use the employers' receive of no-match letters as evidence that they knowingly employed unauthorized workers.

To read the Supplemental Final Rule, visit

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