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.
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.
Recent Policy Changes Made for Self-Attestation of Sex Marker
We modified our policies to permit individuals to make changes in the sex designation field of their records without the need for evidence or documentation. This policy change aligns with the agency’s commitment to decrease administrative burdens and ensure people who identify as gender diverse, or transgender, have options in the Social Security Number card application process.
Visit our blog to learn more.
Social Security Benefits Increase in 2023
In 2023, monthly Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments for approximately 70 million Americans will increase by 8.7%.
Visit our blog for more details about the COLA increase.
Join Us: National Disability Forum on Homelessness: Working with Stakeholders to Improve Access to SSA Benefits and Services Part 2
We cordially invite you to participate in Social Security’s next National Disability Forum, Homelessness: Working with Stakeholders to Improve Access to SSA Benefits and Services Part 2. The forum is on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, via Microsoft Teams.
To participate in the forum, please register by Monday, October 17, 2022.
The purpose of this forum is to learn from researchers, stakeholders, advocates, and the public about how we can improve access to our benefits and services for people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. Discussion topics for Part 2 include:
- Challenges obtaining medical records;
- Tips and considerations for disability case adjudicators; and
- Transitioning out of housing insecurity.
Join Us: National Disability Forum on Homelessness: Working with Stakeholders to Improve Access to SSA Benefits and Services Part I
We cordially invite you to participate in Social Security’s next National Disability Forum, Homelessness: Working with Stakeholders to Improve Access to SSA Benefits and Services Part I. The forum is on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, via Microsoft Teams from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET.
To participate in the forum, please register by Monday, September 19, 2022.
The purpose of these forums is to learn from researchers, stakeholders, advocates, and the public about how we can improve access to our benefits and services for people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. Discussion topics for Part I include:
- Demographics of people experiencing homelessness;
- Access to benefits applications for the sheltered and unsheltered;
- Addressing receipt of benefits when they have no address.
AN UPDATE TO OUR COMPASSIONATE ALLOWANCE INITIATIVE
We have added 12 new conditions to our Compassionate Allowances initiative.
A Compassionate Allowances condition clearly meets our standard for disability under the law. When a Social Security or Supplemental Security Income claim involves a Compassionate Allowances condition, we can often make a decision quickly and minimize the time required to begin paying benefits.
Please see our press release for details.
Just Announced for PRIDE Month! New Webpage, Fact sheet and Video for Same-Sex Couples
We released new materials with updated information about same-sex survivor benefits. In addition, we launched a new webpage, which provides more readily accessible information for members of the LGBTQ+ community and dependent family members.
Our new fact sheet explains how more same-sex partners and spouses may qualify for survivors benefits as outlined in the agreement for Ely v. Saul and Thornton v. Commissioner of Social Security. Our new video provides information for the loved ones and the potential recipients of these benefits to help them understand how to apply. Our LGBTQ+ webpage and same-sex couples webpage houses this and other information on our programs.
We remain committed to administering our programs in a way that promotes equity and fairness to everyone who interacts with us.
The 2022 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 2035, 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.
Join Us – SSA’s Equity Action Plan Stakeholder Engagement Meeting
Please join us for a national meeting to learn about our Equity Action Plan in support of President Biden’s Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. We will convene the meeting via Microsoft Teams on Thursday, June 16, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET.
Our leadership team, including Acting Commissioner Kijakazi, will discuss our comprehensive approach to advancing equity for people who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. Discussion topics will include:
- Identifying inequities in our programs and services;
- Identifying and addressing systemic barriers to program participation;
- Ensuring equitable service for unrepresented claimants in the disability application process;
- Increasing gender equity and equality in our programs; and
- Increasing equitable access to our research grants and procurement opportunities for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Minority Serving Institutions, and small and disadvantaged businesses.
Please register by Wednesday, June 15, 2022, to learn more about this historic plan.
Join Us: National Disability Forum on Food for Thought: How Nutrition and Fitness Impact Disability Across the Lifespan
We cordially invite you to participate in Social Security’s next National Disability Forum on Food for Thought: How Nutrition & Fitness Impact Disability Across Lifespan. The forum is on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, via Microsoft Teams from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.
To participate in the forum, please register by Monday, June 6, 2022.
The purpose of this forum is to learn from stakeholders, advocates, researchers, medical experts, and the public how nutrition and fitness impact disability across the lifespan. Discussion topics include:
- Importance of nutrition and fitness on chronic physical and mental conditions;
- Strategies for improving nutrition and fitness in general and decreasing health inequities;
- Nutrition and fitness effects on employment/unemployment outcomes; and,
- Biological, social, political, and economic factors that influence nutrition and fitness choices.
We hope you can join us and we look forward to your participation. To learn more, please visit the National Disability Forum.
Most Popular Baby Names 2021
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 2021.
To find out which names made this year’s list, visit our baby names page.
Celebrating a Decade: My Social Security 10th Anniversary
Ten years ago this May, we launched my Social Security. It started with letting people see future benefit estimates or current benefits. Over the decade, we’ve added and upgraded features to turn my Social Security into a powerful suite of online services to make your life easier when doing business with us online.
More than 69 million people have signed up and benefited firsthand from the many secure and convenient self-service options. And they’ve used their account more than 1.1 billion times to get what they need quickly and securely without needing to speak with a representative by phone or in an office.
A my Social Security account provides personalized tools for everyone, whether you receive benefits or not. Those not currently receiving benefits can:
- Estimate their future benefits and compare different dates or ages to begin receiving benefits.
- Get instant status of their Social Security application.
- Review their work history.
- Request a replacement Social Security card (in most states). And if you can’t request a card online, you can now begin the application online and save time visiting an office.
Those receiving benefits can:
- Get their instant benefit verification or proof of income letter for Social Security, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- Check their information and benefit amount.
- Start or change their direct deposit.
- Change their address and telephone number.
- Request a replacement Medicare card.
- Get an instant Social Security 1099 form (SSA-1099) or SSA-1042S.
- Report their wages if they work and receive disability benefits and SSI.
Visit our my Social Security webpage and securely create an account today!
NEW FACT SHEET ON SSI AND OTHER BENEFITS
Last year we introduced the redesigned Social Security Statement (Statement) and several accompanying fact sheets. The new Statement makes it much easier for people not receiving Social Security benefits to find the information they need to plan their financial future. It’s one of the most effective tools a person can use to check their earnings history and view future Social Security benefit estimates. This month, we released a new supplemental fact sheet titled Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Other Benefits: Information for People with Limited Earnings.
In addition to providing information about SSI and other Social Security benefits, the new fact sheet details other programs and resources for people with low- income. Some of the highlighted programs include:
- SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps with food purchases.
- Medicare Savings Programs, which can help lessen health care costs.
- Extra Help, which helps with Medicare prescription drug costs.
- Medicaid, which provides health coverage to eligible low-income persons.
The best way to access this new supplemental fact sheet and the Statement is with a my Social Security account.
Visit our Statement page to see the Statement and this newest fact sheet.
SSI Recipients are Eligible for Discounted Internet Service
The Federal Communications Commission wants everyone, including your clients, to access reasonably priced internet services. They recently launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to reduce the cost of getting online.
Any household with an individual who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is eligible to receive discounted internet service through the ACP. Social Security doesn’t count ACP assistance as income or a resource for SSI purposes. Receipt of this assistance will not affect a person’s SSI payment.
Please read our blog article for additional information.
New Online Tool for People Interested in Applying for Supplemental Security Income
We are pleased to tell you about a new tool people can use to tell us they, or someone they are helping, wants to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other benefits. The process takes only 5 – 10 minutes and asks for basic information about the person who wants to apply for SSI. A Social Security representative will schedule an appointment and send the appointment information by mail (or email, if provided). In some cases, a Social Security representative may call to schedule the appointment.
Using this tool documents intent to file an application and establishes a protective filing date. The protective filing date determines when payments can begin if an application is approved.
Certain third parties, such as parents of minor children, family members, representatives, or members of advocacy groups, can also use the tool to express interest about applying for SSI on behalf of someone they are helping. For someone unable to use the tool, we will continue to establish the protective filing date based on a written statement of intent to apply or an oral inquiry about program eligibility.
This tool is part of our ongoing commitment to expanding online services and making it easier for people who face barriers to service get the support they need from us.
Social Security to Resume In-Person Services
On April 7, local Social Security offices plan to add more in-person appointments and will again offer in-person service for people without an appointment.
Please read our blog for details and for the best way to access our services.
Slam the Scam
The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA) has designated March 10, 2022 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 6 - 12, 2022.
In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 396,000 complaints of government imposter scams. Nearly 9% said they lost money to a scammer - more than $442 million. To prevent further losses, we urge everyone to use caution when receiving calls from someone claiming to be from a government agency.
Remember, we 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 or email messages that contain personal information.
Our scam prevention message is simple:
- 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.
Securely Create a my Social Security Account Today!
A personal my Social Security account can help your clients quickly and safely access the services they need. It is the gateway to doing business with us online and can be used to request a replacement Social Security card (in most states), check the status of an application or appeal, verify earnings, estimate future benefits, or manage current benefits. Watch our brief What is my Social Security? video about the advantages of having an account to learn more.
To protect your client’s private information, while making our online services easy to use, we work with two external partners (Login.gov and ID.me) to securely verify your client’s identify in order to create a personal my Social Security account. Login.gov is the public’s one account for simple, secure, and private access to participating U.S. government agencies. ID.me is a single sign-on provider that meets the U.S. government’s online identity proofing and authentication requirements. Your client can pick Login.gov or ID.me to access my Social Security. Your client:
- must be 18 years of age or older and have a Social Security number.
- will be redirected to the partner’s website after selecting “Sign in with Login.gov” or “Sign in with ID.me.”
- must provide a valid email address and some additional information.
- will return to the my Social Security webpage for next steps after creating the new credential.
Encourage your client to visit our my Social Security webpage and securely create their account today!
Join Us: National Disability Forum on Equitable Access to Social Security Disability Programs for LGBTQIA+ Communities
We cordially invite you to participate in Social Security’s next National Disability Forum on Equitable Access to Social Security Disability Programs for LGBTQIA+ Communities. The forum is on Thursday, February 17, 2022 via Microsoft Teams from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET.
To participate in the forum, please register by Monday, February 14, 2022.
The purpose of this forum is to learn from stakeholders, advocates, researchers, medical experts, and the public how SSA can provide equitable access to the LGBTQIA+ communities to our disability programs. The discussion topics are:
- Challenges gender diverse individuals face in finding and receiving healthcare;
- Challenges gender diverse individuals face accessing SSA programs;
- Self-attestation of gender markers;
- Challenges gender diverse individuals face in finding work or re-entering the workplace; and
- Issues gender-diverse children face.
We hope you can join us and look forward to your participation. To learn more, please visit the National Disability Forum.
How To Get Help from Social Security
We want people to know how to get help from us when they need it. This is especially important during the current pandemic, when in-person service is by appointment only for limited, critical issues.
We created a flyer that explains how to get help. It stresses that the best way for most people to get help is online, at SSA.gov. If your clients cannot use our website, they can call our National 800 Number or a local Social Security office. If our representatives are unable to handle the matter during that call, they will schedule an appointment to serve your client by phone or in-person.
The flyer also includes information your client should know before coming to the office:
- Your client must have an appointment to visit an office.
- Masks are required for all office visitors and employees, regardless of vaccination status.
- Visitor capacity is limited to follow physical distancing requirements. This means your client may need to wait outside, so they should plan for cold or bad weather.
- We ask that your client comes alone unless they require help with their visit. If they require help, we can only permit one person to accompany them.
Please share this flyer with your clients through your online channels and consider printing and displaying this where you help them.
Guard Your Card
To protect yourself against identity theft, it is important to safeguard your Social Security number and Social Security card. The best way to “Guard Your Card” is to keep it in a safe place and share it only when required. Don’t carry your card every day. In fact, in most cases, just knowing the Social Security number should be enough. For example, when requesting a Real ID, all states, except for Pennsylvania, no longer require seeing your Social Security card as proof.
Be careful about sharing your Social Security number when asked for it. Always ask why the number is needed, how it will be used, and what will happen if it is not provided.
If you need to request a replacement Social Security card, you may be able to use your personal my Social Security account to request the card on our website. If you live in one of 45 participating states or the District of Columbia, you can Request a Replacement Social Security Number (SSN) Card Online for free, with no charges.
Visit our Social Security Number and Card webpage to learn more about your Social Security card and read and share our factsheet, How You Can Help Us Protect Your Social Security Number and Keep Your Information Safe and infographic, Guard Your Card.
Social Security Benefits Increase in 2022
In 2022, monthly Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments for approximately 70 million Americans will increase by 5.9%.
Visit our blog for more details about the COLA increase.
New Social Security Statement Makes Retirement Planning Easier
We redesigned the Social Security Statement (Statement) to make it easier for people to find the information they need to plan their financial future. The Statement is one of the most effective tools a person can use to learn about their earnings and future Social Security benefits.
Some of the highlights of the new Statement are:
- It’s much shorter and easier to read.
- A bar chart displays the person’s estimated retirement benefits for up to nine retirement start dates.
- Text boxes emphasize key facts people need for financial planning.
We also provide, fact sheets tailored to a person’s age group and earnings situation with the Statement. For example, we provide more information to younger workers about how to save for the future. For older workers, we explain how benefits may be taxed and how to avoid a Medicare penalty.
Visit our Statement page to see samples of the redesigned Statement and the fact sheets (in English and Spanish).
Update - Additional Social Security Forms Available for Online Submission
We have updated our website with more forms for claimants, beneficiaries, representative payees, and appointed representatives that can be completed and submitted online. The newest forms available that you can submit online are:
- SSA-552 – Dedicated Account Use of Funds Statement – Used to confirm to us your understanding of how to use and not use dedicated account funds.
- SSA HA-86 – Request to Withdraw an Appeals Council Request for Review – Used to submit a request to withdraw an Appeals Council request for review.
- SSA HA-4608 – Waiver of Your Right to Personal Appearance Before an Administrative Law Judge – Used to notify us that you do not want to appear at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and that you want the ALJ to decide your case on the evidence in the written record.
These online forms are the latest examples of our ongoing commitment to expanding our online services and making it easier to submit forms to us. Please visit our website and use the online forms.
2021 Taxpayer First Act
The Taxpayer First Act allows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to lower the electronic threshold for filing W-2s to 100. This change is pending IRS issuing final regulations. The anticipated result of this change in 2022 will be that more employers will be required to file their employees’ W-2s electronically.
All employers are required to report wages annually to us for each employee. Most employers submit their wage reports electronically, but some submit paper W-2s. We use the earnings reports, along with self-employment income reports, to determine eligibility for, and the amount of, Social Security benefits for workers and their dependents.
Beginning December 2021, our Business Services Online (BSO) will offer a new way to upload wage report files. When employers submit W-2 files using our New Wage File Upload process, they will receive results right away. They will no longer need to return to learn the status of their file. Go to www.ssa.gov/employer to learn more.
Please remember that there are three ways to file W-2s electronically:
- Use our free product, called W-2 Online, which allows you to file W-2s and W-2Cs right from our BSO website.
- Use software that produces W-2 forms in the Electronic Filing W-2 (EFW2) format, and upload the file on our BSO webpage for free.
- Have a third party prepare the W-2s and file them electronically with us. The third party normally charges a fee.
We invite you to visit SSA’s Taxpayer First Act page to learn more.