Updates on Identity Documents and Information Privacy
from John Otto
New, Stricter DHS No-Match Letter Regulations On Hold
On October 10, 2007, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations concerning Social Security data that does not match employer submitted data. The regulations would require employers to either fire employees who cannot resolve Social Security Administration (SSA) data mis-matches or face stiff fines. The temporarily blocked regulations would require employees to resolve the SSA information mis-matches within 90 days, among other requirements.
While the media attention surrounding this issue has centered on illegal immigrants, transgender people have increasingly become the targets of Social Security no-match letters. When the gender marker in the Social Security system is different than the gender marker that the employer has on record, gender no-match notification is sent to the employer.
Many transgender people have not changed or are unable to change the gender marker that SSA has on file. The SSA requires that the transgender person’s “surgeon or attending physician must provide a letter verifying the sex change surgery has been completed” in order to change the gender marker.
This is in addition to the current Social Security Administration policy of “Outing” employees if their gender does not match what is on file by sending a letter to the employer tell them that the gender does not match what is on file. Can you imagine if you were a trans-person who had to live full time for one year because of the medical standard of care and your boss comes up to you, telling there is an error in your records. How long do you think you would have that job?