Understanding Notices from the SSA

Recently, several of our Social Security Disability (SSD) Claimants contacted the Office of Elizabeth A. Smith more than sixty days after receiving a letter in the mail from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that required some type of action. Since our Cranberry Township office doesn’t receive a copy of each and every letter from the SSA, when a Claimant ignores mail from Social Security or doesn’t take action in time, things can get complicated—you may lose your benefits or the chance to exercise your rights.

Receiving a Notice from the Social Security Administration
How the Notice Looks
It’s important to understand how a notice from Social Security looks so you don’t miss the sixty-day deadline for taking action. It will include a heading listing the agency and name of the Social Security program. See below for an example. The letter will also include a Social Security telephone number and address for your local office.

Example:

            Social Security Administration

            Supplemental Security Income

            Notice of Change in Payment

How a Notice is delivered
An official notice from the SSA will come through U.S. mail or, if a Claimant has opted out of receiving notices by mail, it will be available on their my Social Security account. (Continue reading to find out how to opt of receiving notices by mail later.)

Why a Notice is Sent
The SSA may send notices in the mail for a few reasons. A notice may be sent to inform a Claimant about decisions on their case, to advise them of their rights and responsibilities, and/or provide information regarding what action the Claimant may choose to take if they disagree with any decision.

Responding to a Notice from the Social Security Administration
It is very important to respond to the notice within the time allotted. If, however, you are unsure how to respond, have trouble understanding the notice, or misplace the notice, you must contact the Social Security Administration immediately. DO NOT IGNORE THE LETTER FOR ANY REASON. If you do, you could lose benefits or the chance to exercise your rights.

Opting Out of Receiving Notices by Mail
As mentioned, Claimants have the option to opt out of receiving notices by mail and, instead, receive them through an my Social Security account. You may be wondering, “How do I access my social security account?” To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Create an account (or sign in if you already have one)
  2. Go to the “Message Center” tab on the homepage and select “Go to Preferences”
  3. Select “Which notices are available online?” to view the latest notices available online
  4. Under the “Communication Preference” section, select “Do not send a paper copy”

Whether you choose to continue receiving your notices from the SSA by mail or online, remember that you must not ignore the notice; you must take the appropriate action in the timeframe allowed. If you don’t, you may find that your benefits have been frozen or, worse yet, miss an important deadline.

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