Advocates

Slam the Scam - Protect Your Clients Against Social Security Imposter Scams

The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA) has designated March 7, 2024, as National “Slam the Scam” Day — an outreach campaign to raise public awareness of Social Security scams and other government imposter scams. This is part of National Consumer Protection Week, March 3 - 9, 2024. We are asking you to share information about “Slam the Scam” Day with your clients, friends, and family.

In 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 228,282 complaints of government imposter scams, with Social Security as the most frequently impersonated agency. Over 14% said they lost money to a scammer — a total of more than $126.5 million for Social Security scams. To prevent further losses, we urge everyone to use caution when receiving calls from someone claiming to be from a government agency.

Recognizing the basic signs of a scam is helpful in stopping fraudulent activity. Remember:

  • Scammers pretend to be from an agency or organization you know to gain your trust.
  • Scammers say there is a problem or a prize.
  • Scammers pressure you to act immediately.
  • Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way.

Remind your clients, friends, and family to:

  • Hang up on suspicious calls from “government officials” calling about a problem with your Social Security number or account.
  • NEVER make payments with gift cards, wire transfers, or by mailing cash.
  • Report Social Security scams to OIG.SSA.GOV.
  • Report other scams to reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Read and share our Scam Awareness Toolkit and Scam Alert infographic. Visit FTC’s National Consumer Protection Week for additional resources and activities.


A Reminder of Best Practices for Attorney Fees

We would like to remind you of our resources for attorneys representing Social Security claimants, including best practices for collecting fees for representation at the federal court level.

We do not require attorneys who represent claimants at the federal level to submit a written notice of appointment. However, if you wish to receive direct payment of court-awarded fees and are not registered with us, you must:

Visit our Representing Social Security Claimants webpage for more information about the forms and to subscribe for updates.

For more best practices, review our updated Tips and Best Practices for Appointed Representatives guide and Best Practices for Claimants’ Representatives webpage.


Social Security Celebrates National Black History Month

In February, we recognize and celebrate National Black History Month, a time dedicated to honoring the remarkable achievements and contributions of African Americans throughout history. At Social Security, we understand that our services and benefits touch the lives of all Americans, and we are committed to advancing equity and ensuring access for everyone.

We are proud to share the tools and resources we’ve developed to help educate and inform the African American community about our programs. These include:

Visit our African Americans webpage to learn more.


How We Serve People Who Have Limited English Proficiency

If you assist clients with limited English proficiency (LEP), you should know that we have resources available in different languages to help them conduct their business with us in their preferred language. By addressing language and other barriers, we can help more people access Social Security programs, services, and benefits.

Our free interpreter services are available to people who prefer to conduct business in a language other than English. We offer interpreters in more than 200 languages to help customers communicate and understand important information. Customers can obtain these services by calling our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting a local office and asking for an interpreter.

Our website provides online resources in Spanish including information about retirement benefits, disability benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

We offer the instructions for applying for a Social Security Number card in 17 languages (including English and Spanish). Applicants can use the new instructional guides to complete the official SS-5 English form.

We offer many of our publications in languages other than English. Please check out Social Security Information in Other Languages page to view these resources, which include:

  • Social Security Numbers for Non-Citizens
  • Understanding the Benefits
  • A sample Social Security Statement and 10 supplemental fact sheets

We strive to improve our customer service and provide helpful information to everyone. You can learn more about our commitment to increase access to benefits and services for LEP customers in our Language Access Plan.


Social Security Celebrates a Season of Giving

With the bustling holiday season underway, many of us use this time to give unto others. Whether faith or community calls you to serve the less fortunate, remember that Social Security needs your help to inform people experiencing financial and other hardships about Social Security benefits and services. This includes people with limited income, limited English proficiency, people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, and people with mental illness.

One way you can help is to remind your members, clients, and others that financial help may be available from Social Security. We updated our toolkit on our Faith-Based and Community Groups webpage. It features suggested social media posts, newsletter articles you can publish, and a list of our Regional Communications Directors so you can request a free speaker (virtual or live) for your group.

We also invite you to subscribe to updates via our Advocates page. Our timely and relevant messages will keep you informed about our new and expanded services and programs so that you, in turn, can educate those in need.

On behalf of everyone at Social Security, thank you for giving your time and raising awareness – this holiday season and throughout the year – among those who need our help.


Help Us Prevent Holiday Scams

Help us prevent your clients from falling victim to Social Security-related scams this holiday season. Criminals pretending to be from Social Security and other federal government agencies are tricking victims into sending money or sharing personal information.

We have created a new video on How to Spot a Scam for you to share with your network.

Remind your clients to be skeptical and cautious of unexpected calls or messages. Criminals are using the names of federal government officials and sending pictures of documents, evidence, federal employee credentials, and law enforcement credentials and badges, to try to prove their legitimacy. They may change the picture or use a different name, agency, or badge number, always with the intent to scam people out of money or personal information.

We will NEVER:

  • Send pictures of an employee’s official federal government identification.
  • Suspend someone’s Social Security number.
  • Threaten someone with arrest or other legal action unless they immediately pay a fine or fee.
  • Require payment by retail gift card, wire transfer, internet currency, or cash by mail.
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
  • Send “official” letters or reports containing your personal information via email.

We only send automated emails and text messages to people who have agreed to receive them and only in limited situations, including the following:

  • When someone has subscribed to receive updates and notifications by email or text.
  • As part of our enhanced security when accessing a personal my Social Security account.

Visit our Scam Awareness and Social Media Resources webpages for additional resources and information about how to report Social Security-related scams.


How Providing Race and Ethnicity Data Helps All Customers

We are continuously working to improve our understanding of how our programs are serving the public. This work includes collection of race and ethnicity data for research and statistical purposes which helps us determine whether we are equitably serving the public. The information your clients provide is voluntary and does not affect decisions on benefit applications.

Why does it matter if people provide race and ethnicity data?

When customers choose to provide race and ethnicity information, it lets us know:

  • Who our benefit payments and programs are helping and who may be left out.
  • What unintended barriers may impact benefits and services.
  • Where to expand outreach efforts.
  • How to increase awareness among individuals and families of eligibility for programs and benefits.

In other words, race and ethnicity data can help expand access to our programs, which is one of the objectives in our Equity Action Plan. Examples of how we use this information can be found on our Racial Equity Resources website.

Currently, we collect race and ethnicity information during applications for new or replacement Social Security number (SSN) cards. These applications can be completed through our Online Social Security Number Application or internet Replacement Social Security Card tool, at a local Social Security office or card center. Soon, we will also voluntarily collect this information from parents in participating states during the hospital birth registration process when they request an SSN for their newborn.

Please encourage your clients to provide race and ethnicity information during their application or their child’s application for a new or replacement SSN card.


The Social Security Ticket to Work Beneficiary Satisfaction Survey

We are conducting a survey about the Ticket to Work (Ticket) Program with only randomly selected Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. People who receive invitation letters to participate in the survey will be asked to give feedback about their familiarity with, and participation in, the program.

The Ticket to Work Beneficiary Satisfaction survey asks about their awareness of the Ticket Program, experience receiving services from an Employment Network, and their work experience. Information from the survey will help to improve the Ticket Program. It also ensures that we are aware of services that SSDI beneficiaries and SSI recipients indicate they need.

If your clients choose to participate, they have the option to complete the survey online with the personal identification number or QR code in the letter. It can also be completed by telephone interview.

Participation in the survey is voluntary and will not affect their eligibility for benefits now or in the future. We safeguard the information provided and use it for limited purposes, consistent with applicable federal law, regulations, and directives. Also, we do not include their name or other identifying information in published reports or presentations about the survey.

We would appreciate your help with advising beneficiaries and recipients that it is legitimate. You can find more information at Beneficiary Satisfaction Survey Promotional Toolkit - yourtickettowork.ssa.gov.


National Family Caregivers Month

Each November, we observe National Family Caregivers Month. During this time, we recognize those who provide care to our most vulnerable citizens.

We work closely with caregivers to assist our beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own benefits. In these situations, we may appoint a qualified family member, friend, or interested third party to serve as a representative payee and conduct business on behalf of the beneficiary.

To learn more about the representative payee program, please visit https://www.ssa.gov/payee/.


Social Security Recognizes Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is November 11-18. As a member of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), we actively support USICH’s mission of preventing and ending homelessness in the United States.

Below are resources that can assist you and your clients who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.


Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, an opportunity to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of native people and acknowledge the important contributions they make across the country.

We are proud to share some of the resources and tools we developed to help the American Indian and Alaska Native community. Our American Indians and Alaska Natives webpage provides your clients with access to specific information about Tribal services and communications. They can also learn how to apply for benefits, how to get a Social Security number and card, and how to check their earnings record and benefit estimates online.

We are committed to making our services more accessible and convenient for Tribal communities. Our local Social Security offices can enter into agreements with AIAN locations where your clients can virtually connect with a Social Security representative. Once an agreement is established, people at Tribal locations that have access to a Microsoft Teams compatible device (desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone) and internet service can now use Microsoft Teams to meet with our staff via video.

For more information on video service options or establishing video partner agreements, contact your local Social Security office.


SSA Honors National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and to promote the inclusion and equity of people with disabilities in the workforce. The theme for this year, Advancing Access and Equity, reflects our commitment to ensure that people with disabilities have equal opportunities and access to employment.

To support people with disabilities who are working, we have a variety of wage reporting options. It is important for them to report earnings so that they can avoid overpayments. People who work and receive SSDI can report earnings with a personal my Social Security account. People who receive SSI can report their earnings by:

  • Calling our Toll-Free Telephone Wage Reporting System at 866-772-0953;
  • Using the SSA Mobile Wage Reporting app, available as a free download from either the Apple or Google Play stores;
  • Using their personal my Social Security account; or
  • Mailing or faxing wage information to their local Social Security office.

Information on how to use the SSA Mobile Wage Reporting app is available via video here. First-time users of any of the automated tools should contact their local Social Security office first to make sure they meet the requirements to report their wages online.

For more information, please read our publications, Reporting Wages When You Receive Supplemental Security Income, Working While Disabled—A Guide to Plan to Achieve Self-Support, and Working While Disabled: How We can Help.


SSA Talks: Will Social Security be there when I retire?

Our newest episode of SSA Talks is available now!

This episode features Chief Actuary, Steve Goss, answering the question, “Will Social Security be there when I retire?”

Visit our SSA Talks page to listen to the full episode. You also can download a fact sheet on the episode topic to share through your network.

Remember to subscribe to SSA Talks today to receive notifications of future episodes.


SSA Recognizes Blindness Awareness Month

October is Blindness Awareness Month. Please join us in recognizing those who are blind or live with other visual impairments.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides helpful resources for the blind or visually impaired so that they can access our programs and services. They include materials in alternate formats. There are also resources available from other federal agencies to help people who are blind or visually impaired access their programs and services. Some of the resources include:


Mobile Check-In Express is Available!

Now, clients visiting our local Social Security offices can check-in from their mobile device using our new feature, Mobile Check-In Express.

To use Mobile Check-In Express, your clients can scan the QR code located at the local Social Security office they’re visiting. This will allow your clients to check in for both scheduled appointments and non-scheduled visits.

For Mobile Check-In Express to work, your clients must be at the Social Security office and have their mobile location services on. They should also make sure they’re using the latest version of their internet browser. The service is most compatible with Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox. Your clients will also want to:

  • Ensure they are in the Social Security office when their ticket number is called.
  • Enable their mobile notifications. This will:
    • Allow them to receive their electronic ticket – so they’ll know their place in line.
    • Alert them when we’re ready to help them.
    • Provide them with their interview location information.
    • Invite them to participate in our feedback survey.

my Social Security Now Available to Clients Outside of the US

Your clients living abroad can now create a personal my Social Security account and access many of our online services using their ID.me credential.

With a my Social Security account, they can:

  • Check their earnings.
  • Check the status of their application or appeal.
  • View, print, or save a benefit verification letter.
  • View, print, or save a replacement SSA-1099/1042S tax statement.
  • Access online notices.

For more information, including directions to set up an ID.me account and a full listing of what your international clients can do with a my Social Security account, please visit the Office of Earnings and International Operations webpage.


Reminder: Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare Open Enrollment runs through December 7, 2023. During this time, your clients can review and compare their options for health and prescription drug coverage. After checking their options, they can enroll or switch plans for the coming year. Changes will take effect on January 1, 2024. 

If your clients are satisfied with the current health care coverage and it will be available in 2024, they do not need to take any action.  

For more information or to compare plans, your clients may visit Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE. 


Social Security Benefits Increase in 2024

In 2024, monthly Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments for more than 71 million Americans will increase by 3.2%.

Visit our blog for more details about the cost-of-living adjustment increase.


New Mailing Address for the Appeals Council

We want to notify you of a recent change to the Appeals Council’s mailing address. Beginning September 30, 2023, there will be no staff at the Falls Church, VA location to receive any incoming mail. To avoid processing delays, please use the following address.

Social Security Administration
Office of Appellate Operations
6401 Security Blvd Baltimore, MD 21235-6401

As a reminder, the preferred method to request an Appeals Council Review of an Administrative Law Judge decision or dismissal is by using the SSA secure online process available at AC iAppeal Online.


SSA Recognizes the 50th Anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Today, we join the Department of Labor in honoring the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs that are run by federal agencies or receive federal funding. This year’s theme is “Advancing Access and Equity: Then, Now and Next.

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act helps to remove employment barriers and promote equal opportunity in the workforce for people with disabilities. Similarly, Social Security’s Ticket to Work program promotes employment and rehabilitation for people with disabilities. The Ticket to Work program is a free and voluntary program that helps adults ages 18-64 who receive Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income based on disability, or both, by connecting them with services and supports to succeed in the workforce.

People with disabilities face barriers achieving and maintaining their financial independence. Please join us in recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act by sharing information about the Ticket to Work program or our blog Celebrating 50 Years of the Rehabilitation Act.


Social Security Expands Video Services to Tribal and Community Service Locations

For more than ten years, we have offered video services to the public in our local offices and in third-party partner locations nationwide. Using Polycom Video Service Delivery (VSD) units in partner locations, we can remotely serve people who may not have access to our local offices, telephone, or the internet.

In addition to VSD units, people at Tribal and community service locations can now use Microsoft Teams to meet with our staff via video. This option allows the site to use their own equipment to securely connect customers with Social Security.

For more information on video service options or establishing video partner agreements for VSD, contact your local Social Security office.


Update and Clarification: Faxed Applications No Longer Being Accepted

Recently, we notified you that we are no longer accepting faxed applications. We appreciate the feedback we received on the notification and want to provide clarifying information.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our services and the public’s ability to apply for benefits in person. In response, we implemented various temporary flexibilities – temporary changes to our policies and business processes. These flexibilities included accepting faxed applications as validly signed applications if they contained a legible, handwritten signature. Prior to this change, we did not consider any faxed applications to be validly signed. When we received a faxed application prior to implementing the temporary flexibility, we contacted the claimant to go over the information provided on the application and obtain their signature. We generally contacted the claimant to obtain their signature over the phone as permitted by our alternative signature policy.

With the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency as of May 11, 2023, we evaluated our temporary flexibilities and decided to discontinue accepting faxed applications. Since we have reopened our offices to walk-in traffic and expanded in-person services, we determined that continuing to accept signatures on faxed applications was no longer justified given the risk that bad actors could use faxed applications to commit fraud. However, you can still use a fax to help your clients. Although we will no longer accept faxed, signed applications as valid applications, a claimant can still submit a faxed application to establish a protective filing date. Upon receiving the faxed application, we will contact the claimant or a proper applicant, go over the information provided, and obtain a signature to validate the application. In addition, advocates or representatives can continue to fax the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) model consent or unsigned application to establish intent to file and establish protective filing dates.

For people who are comfortable using online services, we do offer the online protective filing tool to establish a protective filing and request an appointment. We are also working on implementing a new online, streamlined SSI application by the end of the calendar year.


An Important Notice Regarding Transition-Aged Youth

This week we mailed a notice to more than 323,000 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients between the ages of 14 and 17 (transition-aged youth) and their adult representatives to help them identify policies and other resources to assist youth in their transition to adulthood. These mailings include a notice introducing our annual informational publication, What You Need To Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18 (Publication No. 05-11005). We encourage caregivers to review it with the child, if possible.

This publication helps youth prepare for the transition from school to adult life. It provides information about SSI work incentives primarily affecting youth, as well as information about common programs, services, and supports that parents, guardians, and youth may find helpful.

Specific topics covered include:

  • The age-18 redetermination and how to appeal if benefits stop;
  • Earnings and the age 18 redetermination;
  • Available work incentives and supports;
  • SSI program rules about higher education funds;
  • Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts; and
  • Other services that may be helpful.

You can download the publication from the agency's publication website in both English and Spanish.

Also, we have a webpage for youth to assist them with making a successful transition to adulthood.


Faxed Applications No Longer Being Accepted

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we temporarily accepted faxed applications as valid signed applications to expedite the application process. Since the Public Health Emergency ended on May 11, 2023, please note that we are no longer accepting faxed applications as valid.

Applications must meet the following criteria to be considered valid:

  • On an agency-prescribed form;
  • Signed beneath the penalty clause by a proper applicant;
  • Filed with SSA; and
  • The claimant must be alive when the application is filed unless:
    • Before death, there was a written statement of intent to claim benefits.
    • Before death, a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) oral inquiry was received.
    • Within 3 months after the month of death, a title II disability application is filed.

You may find more information on valid applications here.


New - Online Form to Consent to and Authorize SSA to Disclose Certain Privacy Act Protected Records to a Third Party

Your clients can now complete and submit Form SSA-3288-OP1, Disclosure of Records Protected Under the Privacy Act, online. This form allows people over the age of 18 to consent to and authorize SSA to disclose certain types of their Privacy Act protected records to a third party.

We are committed to expanding our online services and making it easier for you and your clients to submit forms and complete other business with us online.

In addition to the new, limited online option, your clients can still submit the completed paper Form SSA-3288 to their local Social Security office to consent to and authorize SSA to disclose their Privacy Act protected records to a third party.


We Have Expanded Our Compassionate Allowances Program

Today, Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi announced that we have added 12 new Compassionate Allowances conditions.

The Compassionate Allowances program quickly identifies claims where the applicant’s medical condition or disease clearly meets Social Security’s statutory standard for disability. Due to the severe nature of many of these conditions, these claims are often allowed based on medical confirmation of the diagnosis alone.

Please read our press release for details.


Reminder: Supplemental Security Income Reporting Responsibilities

Keeping track of the various changes that affect your clients’ Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be challenging. We need your assistance reminding your clients of their reporting responsibilities. Informing us of any change in circumstance that may affect their benefits is critical to ensure they receive the right amount each month.

Common changes that need to be reported include changes in:

  • Income;
  • Resources (e.g., bank accounts, vehicles, property);
  • Employment (e.g., starting/stopping a job or change in earnings);
  • Housing (e.g., address or persons moving in or out);
  • Care (e.g., entering or exiting a nursing home);
  • Incarceration status (e.g., entering or exiting a correctional facility);
  • Citizenship (e.g., U.S. citizenship or lawful non-citizen status);
  • Marital status.

How to Report Changes:

  • Call toll free at 1-800-772-1213, weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Deaf or hard of hearing clients may call TTY 1-800-325-0778.
  • Contact their local Social Security office.

How to Report Wages:

  • Call our Toll -Free Telephone Wage Reporting System at 866-772-0953.
  • Use the SSA Mobile Wage Reporting app, available as a free download from either the Apple or Google Play stores.
  • Use their personal my Social Security account.
  • Mail or fax to their local Social Security Office.

Before using any of our automated wage reporting applications, or, if they already use one and they change employers, your client or their representative payee must contact us. Please contact their local Social Security office or call us Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to provide the employer’s information and employer identification number (EIN).

They can also sign up for monthly SSI wage reporting email or text reminders.

You can get additional information about wage reporting at SSI Wage Reporting | SSA.

For a complete list of SSI reporting responsibilities, please read our publication, What You Need to Know When You Get Supplemental Security Income.


Have You Heard? States are Restarting Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Renewals

For the past three years, people on Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) were not required to renew their coverage due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. This exception was referred to as the ‘continuous enrollment condition’.

The continuous enrollment condition ended, so states have resumed eligibility reviews. To avoid a gap in coverage, people who have Medicaid or CHIP need to take action to renew their coverage.


SSA Celebrates PRIDE Month! Updated Information

In June we recognize the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and expanding (LGBTQI+) community. While we acknowledge systemic barriers and the continued work to break them, this year we celebrate the progress made in policies and programs that may help provide efficient and equitable service to those families in the LGBTQI+ community.

We invite you to visit our LGBTQI+ webpage to learn about the benefits available to same-sex couples. We highlight the benefits that surviving same-sex partners and spouses previously excluded from receiving may now be eligible for. Additionally, we have simplified the steps to change the sex marker on a Social Security number record through self-attestation.


Reminder: Best Practices When Filing Exceptions to the Appeals Council

We want to remind you of the following best practices when filing exceptions to the Appeals Council following a final decision by an Administrative Law Judge issued after remand by the district court.

We encourage you to take the steps below to ensure timely processing for your clients:

  • When faxing exceptions, please include “Exceptions to Final Decision” in the subject line to ensure proper identification of your submission.
  • If you are faxing exceptions, please use the fax number corresponding to the appropriate branch:
    Branch Circuit Jurisdiction Branch Fax Number
    CCPRB-1 7th & 9th Circuits (833) 763-0406
    CCPRB-2 1st, 3rd, 4th & 10th Circuits (833) 763-0407
    CCPRB-3 DC, Foreign Claims, 6th & 11th Circuits (833) 763-0408
    CCPRB-4 2nd, 5th & 8th Circuits (833) 775-0562
  • If you requested an extension of time (EOT) to submit exceptions, and you no longer need the extra time, please notify us by faxing the appropriate branch (above) or calling the Claimant and Public Assistance Branch at 703-605-8000 or 1-877-670-2722. If we receive an EOT request separately from exceptions, we will process the EOT which could delay your case unnecessarily.
  • If more than 30 days have elapsed since the submission of exceptions and, using your online access, you do not see the case pending in our system, please contact our Claimant and Public Assistance Branch.

Social Security Launches New Audio Series, SSA Talks, and News Hub

To learn more about Social Security’s top priorities, check out our new audio series, SSA Talks.

In our first episode, Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi and Janet Walker, Associate Commissioner for Operational HR Services, discuss how our current hiring initiative is central to improving customer service. The 17-minute episode includes a fact sheet and transcript. The fact sheet also provides more info about working at SSA.

Please visit our SSA Talks page to listen and subscribe to receive alerts about future episodes!

Our new Communications Corner provides a central hub for the public, the press, researchers, and other stakeholders looking for information about SSA and our programs.

Visit the Communications Corner to access our blog, newsletter, bulletins, the new audio series, and more!


Social Security Administration Expands Outreach and Access for Supplemental Security Income

Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced that the agency has expanded its outreach to people in critical need of financial help who may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Please visit our blog to read more.


Most Popular Baby Names 2022

Today we released last year’s top 10 baby names! This is our annual list of the top baby names based on Social Security number applications from 2022.

To find out which names made this year’s list, visit our baby names page.


Important Update to the Pending Request for Review Process

In 2020, the Appeals Council (Council) successfully implemented a plan to reduce the level of pending requests for review. That level remains at historic lows.

Currently, we do not act on a request for review for an initial 25-day period. In July 2023, we will change that practice and will no longer hold a review for an initial 25-day period. If additional time is needed to submit evidence or argument, please make the corresponding election on the Form HA-520 (Request for Review of Hearing Decision/Order). Letters sent from July 2023 onward will no longer have the statement regarding the 25-day period of inactivity.

All claimants and representatives can still request extensions to submit evidence to the Council, consistent with our regulations and sub-regulations.

Please contact oea.net.post@ssa.gov with any questions.


The 2023 Social Security Trustees Report Is Out Now

Today, the Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Funds.

The combined trust funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, with 80% of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund is not projected to become depleted during the 75-year projection period.

To learn more, please read our press release.


Internet For All Initiative

Social Security provides a variety of online services that give you and your clients freedom and control when conducting business with us. To address the need for affordable and reliable high-speed internet service, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) launched the Internet for All Initiative. As part of this initiative, NTIA established the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and the Digital Equity Act Program. These programs will fund projects that will:

  • Connect unserved and underserved populations to high-speed internet.
  • Provide devices and digital skills training.
  • Make the internet more affordable.
  • Create jobs.

To discuss potential projects and make sure your community’s voice is heard during the planning process, contact your State Broadband Office. For more information, visit the Internet for All webpage or the Broadband Guidebook created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


The Tax Deadline is Approaching

The end of tax season is fast approaching. This year the tax return filing deadline, or Tax Day, falls on April 18, 2023.

If your client receives Social Security benefits, they should have received an annual Benefit Statement, also known as the SSA-1099 or the SSA-1042S. A Benefit Statement shows the total amount of benefits an individual received from Social Security in the previous year, so they know how much Social Security income to report to the IRS on their tax return. If your client misplaced their Benefit Statement, they can instantly get a replacement form with a personal my Social Security account.

Visit our Information for Tax Preparers webpage to learn more.


FY 2024 President’s Budget for SSA

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2024 for the Social Security Administration.

Please visit our blog to read a statement from Acting Commissioner Kijakazi.


An Important Reminder Regarding Submission of Form SSA-827

When completing the Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (Form SSA-827), please remember to obtain a proper signature from your client.

Social Security requires a signed Form SSA-827 from the claimant or proper applicant at each adjudicative level to process disability claims, continuing disability reviews, and non-disability claims when capability is an issue.

Representatives periodically provide SSA-827 forms in the Electronic Folder that have altered claimant signatures and/or dates, such as displaying a picture of a signature or date that is not original. Altering the SSA-827 form in this way violates our policy and puts medical providers at significant risk of releasing sensitive medical information without the proper authorization required by law. Forms altered with annotations are invalid and cause case processing delays.

If you are amending SSA-827 forms in this manner, we ask that you discontinue this practice immediately. You are required to obtain a new, properly signed, and dated Form SSA-827 at each adjudicative level.

You may submit questions to oea.net.post@ssa.gov.


Slam the Scam

The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA) has designated March 9, 2023, as National “Slam the Scam” Day – an outreach campaign to raise public awareness of Social Security scams and other government imposter scams. This is part of National Consumer Protection Week, March 5 - 11, 2023.

In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 191,000 complaints of government imposter scams. Of those, 14.6% said they lost money to a scammer – a total of $508.96 million. To prevent further losses, we urge everyone to use caution when receiving calls or messages from someone claiming to be from a government agency.

Recognizing the basic signs of a scam is helpful in stopping fraudulent activity. Remember:

  • Scammers pretend to be from an agency or organization you know to gain your trust.
  • Scammers say there is a problem or a prize.
  • Scammers pressure you to act immediately.
  • Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way.

Social Security will never:

  • Threaten arrest or legal action if someone does not immediately send money to resolve an overpayment.
  • Promise to increase benefits or resolve identity theft issues for a fee or by moving money into a protected account.
  • Require payment with a retail gift card, prepaid debit card, cryptocurrency, wire transfer, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
  • Send text, email, or social media messages that contain personal information.

Visit our Scam Awareness and Social Media Resources webpages for additional resources and information on how to report Social Security Scams.


New Redesigned Website Prioritizes Customer Experience

In our ongoing commitment to provide efficient and equitable service, visitors to SSA.gov will now experience a new design that helps them find what they need more easily and do business with us online. Many of our most visited sections now use a more user-friendly and task-based approach. In the coming months we will continue to unveil new pages and improvements based on public feedback.

Read our blog announcing the redesigned website and several interactive tools, such as our new benefit eligibility screener.


We Want Your Feedback - Improving Communications with Organizational Representative Payees

Your feedback is valuable and important to us.

We are seeking ideas and feedback on ways to improve communications between organizational representative payees and our local offices, using an online tool called Engage SSA.

Engage SSA will be available through Friday, November 18, 2022. Please see the Engage SSA guide for details on using the site.


Update on Increase to the Attorney Fee Cap

We previously announced an upcoming increase to the maximum fee under the fee agreement process, the first increase in 13 years. Effective November 30, 2022, the maximum fee will change from $6,000 to $7,200.

Additionally, on November 30, 2022, we are also increasing the fee petition amount that an initial authorizer may approve if an appointed representative seeks authorization of a fee through the fee petition process. During the fee petition process, the initial authorizer may now approve up to $12,000 in connection with a claim adjudicated at the initial, reconsideration, or hearing level.

Information for appointed representatives, including the electronic SSA-1696 fee agreement, is available on our Representing Social Security Claimants page.