SOCIAL SECURITY NOTICES AND LETTERS
WHAT DOES A NOTICE LOOK LIKE?
A Social Security notice will have the following features:
a heading that always includes the agency name usually the name of the Social Security program, and the type of notice. For example:
Social Security Administration
Supplemental Security Income
Notice of Change in Payment
a Social Security telephone number and the address for your local office.
WHY DO WE SEND YOU A NOTICE?
Notices are one of the main ways that we communicate with the public. We use notices to tell you our decisions, inform you of your rights and responsibilities, and describe what you can do if you disagree with our decisions.
We also send letters that may ask you to call or come into the office, or to send information or documents.
WHEN DO WE SEND YOU A NOTICE?
Whenever we send you a notice, it is because there is something you should know or do about your claim, benefit status or benefit amount. We send you a notice before we make a change to your benefit amount or eligibility. We will send a notice whenever we must tell you about activity on your case.
For example, if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and changes in your living arrangement, other income, or resources affect your benefit amount, you will receive a notice each time your benefit amount changes.
WHAT DO WE TELL YOU IN OUR NOTICE?
Our notices generally state the following:
the purpose of the letter;
any action we plan to take or decision we’ve made and the reason;
any change in your benefit status or payment amount and the starting date of the change;
any action you should take;
what you should do if you disagree with the decision; and
how to contact us.
WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED INDIVIDUALS?
Blind or visually impaired persons may receive notices about their benefits in the following formats:
- standard print by first class or certified mail
- standard print by first class mail with a follow-up telephone call
- audio compact disc or on a Microsoft Word compact disc
- large print (18-point font).
If none of these options are adequate, blind or visually impaired persons may request another accommodation. We will decide whether to approve other accommodation requests on an individual basis.
Blind or visually impaired persons can go online at www.ssa.gov/notices to select or change the way they receive notices from us.
WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO LIMITED ENGLISH SPEAKING INDIVIDUALS?
Most notices from Social Security are available in Spanish. Notices that are not available in Spanish include a Spanish cover letter offering translation services from a local Social Security office.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING OR RESPONDING TO OUR NOTICE?
Contact us if you do not understand a notice, or if you cannot do what we ask in the time allowed. Have the notice with you when you contact us, so we will be able to help you more quickly. We will explain the letter to you and help you do what you need to do to meet your responsibility.
If you misplace a notice that we have sent to you, please contact us. Do not ignore the letter under any circumstances. If you do, you could lose benefits or the chance to exercise your rights.