Social Security’s Inspector General Warns of New Benefit Suspension Scam
SSA’s Office of the Inspector General has received reports of Social Security beneficiaries receiving letters through the U.S. Mail stating their payments will be suspended or discontinued unless they call a phone number referenced in the letter.
Unfortunately, this is the latest twist on the ongoing scams affecting the American public. The scammers are misleading beneficiaries into providing personal information or payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency, or by mailing cash, to maintain regular benefit payments during this period of COVID-19 office closures.
For more information, we encourage you to read this blog from our Inspector General. And as always, please report Social Security scams using our dedicated online form. Please share this information with your friends and family, to help spread awareness about Social Security scams.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Important Information about Social Security Services
All local Social Security offices are closed to the public for in-person service as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This decision protects the populations we serve—older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions—and our employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, we are still able to provide critical services.
Please visit our Social Security & Coronavirus webpage to get updates on the latest, including how to get help from the Social Security Administration by phone and online.
Check Out Our New Representative Payee Portal!
We are making it easier for those serving as a representative payee to conduct business with us! We have launched our new centralized Representative Payee Portal where individual representative payees with a my Social Security account can:
Select “my Social Security” to use the Representative Payee Portal for your own business:
- Estimate your future benefits
- Print your online Social Security statement
- Request a replacement Social Security card (in qualifying states)
- Get a proof of income letter
- Change your address, if you receive benefits
Select “Representative Payee Services” to conduct business for your beneficiaries:
- View current benefit details
- Update or enroll in direct deposit
- Complete annual accounting
- Report wages
If you serve as a Representative Payee, we encourage you to check out the new Representative Payee Portal.
Learn about becoming a representative payee and all the requirements by:
New Rule Modernizes How We Award Disability Benefits
Your clients deserve a timely and accurate decision regarding their disability claim. To help us do that, we must modernize the rules and standards we use to evaluate how we determine disability benefits.
We updated a rule that has been in the works for a number of years and updates an outdated policy that made the inability to communicate in English a factor in awarding disability benefits. Learn more on our blog about why we are making this much-needed change.
We Need Your Help to Fight Social Security Phone Scams!
In the last year, Social Security phone scams have skyrocketed, becoming the #1 type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission and Social Security.
To help reduce these types of fraud, Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul and SSA Inspector General Gail Ennis have announced the launch of a new online form to report Social Security phone scams.
Please help us raise awareness about the scam and reporting suspicious phone calls to the online form. You can find more information on this important topic by visiting our Social Security Matters Blog.
National Disability Forum on What Impairments Have a Likelihood to Improve?
Please register to participate in Social Security’s National Disability Forum on “What Impairments Have a Likelihood to Improve?”
The forum will be held on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET at 1100 New York Avenue NW, Suite 200 East, Washington, DC 20005. You may also participate in the forum via live stream.
The purpose of this forum is to obtain feedback from experts on what impairments have a likelihood to improve. This forum will be moderated, and include up to five panelists presenting information on the topic. Additionally, there will be a question-and-answer session featuring questions from audience members in the room and participating online.
If you would like to participate, please register by Sunday, December 1, 2019.
To learn more about the National Disability Forum, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ndf/.
Ticket to Work and National Disability Employment Awareness Month
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and this year’s theme is The Right Talent, Right Now.
During this month, America observes and celebrates the contributions of people with disabilities in the workforce whose careers are in every industry. This is also a time to encourage people with disabilities, who are not in the workforce but are interested in working or returning to work.
In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we are highlighting our Ticket to Work Program. This program helps people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits. Many beneficiaries have participated in the Ticket to Work Program and have successfully transitioned to work. Please visit our National Disability Employment Awareness Month blog for more details on the Ticket to Work Program.
Social Security's 2020 Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Increase Announced
In 2020, monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for nearly 69 million Americans will increase by 1.6 percent.
Visit our blog for more details about the COLA increase.
Scam Alert! How You Can Help
Social Security is teaming up with other government agencies to develop educational tools to help our citizens’ spot fraudulent schemes and avoid becoming victims.
Recently, we worked with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a new fraud prevention placemat to help you avoid Social Security scams. You can order free copies of the placemat to use at dining venues, or to share with friends and family.
Additionally, we have posted a series of blogs about how our beneficiaries can protect their information from scammers and what to do when they receive a “spoof” call. In addition, our colleagues at the FTC released detail information on how to stop unwanted calls.
For additional resources and tips read our blog: How You Can Help Social Security Protect Others.
The Best Kept Secret in the Disability Community
Later this year, the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) will be five years old.
Why are we excited? Because nearly 8 million Americans with disabilities could save money for qualified disability expenses to cover short and long-term needs by opening an ABLE account.
Visit our blog to learn more about ABLE accounts.
National Disability Forum on the State of Medicine – Biomarkers
Please register here to participate in Social Security’s National Disability Forum on the State of Medicine – Biomarkers.
The forum will be held on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT at 1100 New York Avenue NW, Suite 200 East, Washington, DC 20005. You may also participate in the forum via live stream.
The purpose of the forum is to gain insight on how Social Security may incorporate biomarker assessment into the disability determination process, based on emerging science.
- Dr. Philip Wang, Deputy Medical Director and Director of Research for the American Psychiatric Association
- Dr. Sarah Morris, Branch Chief, Adult Psychopathology and Psychosocial Interventions Research Branch, National Institute of Mental Health
- Dr. Kristen Schratz, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellow, Department of Oncology and Telomere Center, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Dr. Stephanie George, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
- Dr. Gabriel Newman, Clinical Director, The Neuroscience Team
- Dr. Carmen R. Green, Professor, Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology-Research Division, School of Public Health, University of Michigan
- Topic 1: Integrating Biomarker Evidence into the Practice of Psychiatry
- Topic 2: Prognostic Biomarkers in Mental Impairments: Current and Future
- Topic 3: The Telomere in Cancer and Other Diseases
- Topic 4: Biomarkers with Potential Utility in Disability Adjudication of Physical Impairments
- Topic 5: Biomarkers in Brain Injury
- Topic 6: Biomarkers in the Assessment of Pain
If you would like to participate, please register online by Monday, July 8, 2019.
To learn more about the National Disability Forum, please click http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ndf/
Top 10 Baby Names
Last year’s Top 10 baby names have been released! This is our annual list of the most popular baby names based on Social Security number applications from 2018.
To find out which names made this year’s list, visit our baby names page, www.socialsecurity.gov/babynames.
Social Security is on Instagram
Social Security is excited to announce that we are now on Instagram! Instagram is an online community of over one billion users sharing life’s visual moments and video stories. From this channel, we will share stories and information about resources that can help you and your clients.
Follow @SocialSecurity for all new stories and updates on the information you need to know. Stay connected with #SocialSecurity happenings, behind the scenes, information on our benefit programs, and more.
See you on Instagram!
It’s April and National Social Security Month is finally here!
Our theme again this year is, “See what you can do online!” We are very excited to share with you during this celebratory time all of the great things you can do online at SocialSecurity.gov.
Throughout the month, we encourage you to share the advantages of a personal my Social Security account with customers, your family, and friends.
With a my Social Security account, they can verify their earnings, get a proof of income letter, change their direct deposit, check the status of their Social Security application, and more – all online.
Visit our blog to learn more about National Social Security Month.
SCAM ALERT! Help Us Raise Awareness
We have become aware of reports of fraudulent telephone calls from individuals claiming to represent the Social Security Administration (SSA). In them, unknown callers are using threatening language to warn unknowing victims that they will be arrested or face other legal action if they fail to call a provided phone number or press the number indicated in the message to address the issue. In some instances, these unknown callers switch tactics and communicate that they want to help an individual with activating a suspended Social Security number. Such calls are a scam, and are not coming from official SSA representatives.
We encourage you to inform your members and extended networks not to engage with such callers, and to report any suspicious calls to Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General by calling 1-800-269-0271 or submitting a report on the OIG website. We also urge you to read and share our Social Security Matters blog , which provides more information on the nature of these fraudulent calls, as well as instructions on how to report such activity.
Social Security is committed to protecting the privacy and security of the people we serve. We appreciate your help in spreading the word about this important topic.
Share Your Feedback! Help Strengthen the Representative Payee Program
A provision of the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 requires us to solicit public comment on:
- the appropriateness of the order of preference for selecting a representative payee; and
- the effectiveness of our policy and operational procedures for determining when to change a representative payee.
On December 14, 2018, we published a Federal Register Notice requesting public feedback on nine questions related to our order of preference, policies, and operational procedures. We invite your comment on this notice before the public comment period ends on January 28, 2019.
2019 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) 2.8 Percent Increase
Today, Social Security announced that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8 percent in 2019.
Visit our blog to learn more about the COLA.
New Online Wage Reporting Tool for SSI Recipients
We are pleased to announce that we are expanding our my Social Security online wage reporting service to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, as well as their spouses, parents, sponsors, and representative payees. Individuals receiving both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI, as well as their representative payees, can also report wages online. This service is available through our existing my Social Security portal. Check our website to learn more about my Social Security features and how to sign up. You can also click here to access more information about reporting wages online.
Tips for Safeguarding Your Identity
Join us on Facebook for a Social Security Live chat on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 11 a.m. EST. We will be speaking with special guest, Lisa Schifferle of the Federal Trade Commission.
During this live event, we will share important tips on consumer protection and how to safeguard your identity. We will also be discussing how to get involved in spreading the word during National Consumer Protection Week.
To join us, RSVP on our Facebook page and get a reminder HERE. We will be featuring questions from the public and look forward to hearing from you. Please note that a recording of the broadcast will be closed captioned and added to our YouTube channel within one week.
Don’t miss this engaging opportunity to learn from the experts!