SOCIAL SECURITY NOTICES AND LETTERS


WHAT DOES A NOTICE LOOK LIKE?


A Social Security notice will have the following features:

    small blue and black arrow a heading that always includes the agency name, and usually the name of the Social Security program, and the type of notice for example:

    blank spacerSocial Security Administration
    blank spacerSupplemental Security Income
    blank spacerNotice of Change in Payment

    small blue and black arrowa Social Security telephone number or address


WHY DO WE SEND YOU A NOTICE?


Notices are one of the main ways that we communicate with the public. We rely on notices to communicate determinations, inform you of your rights and responsibilities, and to describe what you can do if you disagree with our determinations. We also send administrative letters that may ask you to call or come into the office, or to send information or documents.

We also send administrative 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) benefits and your living arrangement, income or resources change, 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:

    small blue and black arrowthe purpose of the letter;

    small blue and black arrowany action we plan to take or determination we've made and the reason;

    small blue and black arrowany change in your benefit status or payment amount and the starting date of the change;

    small blue and black arrowany action you should take;

    small blue and black arrowwhat you should do if you disagree with the determination; and

    small blue and black arrowhow 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 standard print by first class or certified mail, in standard print by first class mail with a followup telephone call, in Braille, audio CD and large print (18-point size) or on a Microsoft Word compact disc.  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.


WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO LIMITED ENGLISH SPEAKING INDIVIDUALS?


We plan to gradually make notices available in various languages. Because our Spanish speaking population is the largest group of limited English speaking individuals, we have made almost all SSI notices 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 you, before you have a chance to read or respond to it, contact us. Do not ignore the notice under any circumstances. If you do, you could lose benefits or the chance to exercise your rights.


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