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
Social Security’s internet link, toll-free telephone number and the address for your local field office.
WHY DO WE SEND YOU A NOTICE?
Notices are one of the ways that we communicate with the public. Notices are necessary to explain our decisions, inform you of your rights and responsibilities, and explain what you can do if you disagree with our decisions.
We also send notices that may ask you to call or come into the office, or to request information or documents.
WHEN DO WE SEND YOU A NOTICE?
We will send you a notice, to inform you about your claim, benefit status or benefit amount. A notice will be sent if your benefit amount or eligibility changes and/or terminates.
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?
You can choose to receive notices from us in one of the following ways. Just let us know which you prefer. Your choices for receiving notices are:
- Standard print notice by first-class mail;
- Standard print notice by certified mail;
- Standard print notice by first-class mail and a follow-up telephone call;
- Standard print notice and Braille notice by first-class mail;
- Standard print notice and data compact disc (CD) that contain a Microsoft Word file by first-class mail;
- Standard print notice and audio CD by first-class mail; or
- Standard print notice and large print (18-point size) notice by first-class mail.
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.