When applying for a mortgage or loan, you’ll likely be asked to submit a “proof of income” document. This paper is called by many names, including a “benefit letter”, a “budget letter”, or a “proof of award letter”.
No matter how it’s called, a Social Security benefit letter is a useful document with many uses, mainly for verification. In this document, your Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare coverage, as well as declined applications and the previous benefits received, will be discussed as far as their relevance to the benefit letter allows.
But, first, let’s discuss the basics.
Why Do You Need a Social Security Benefit Letter?
For one thing, the benefit letter can be used as proof of income – non-beneficiaries can request for this letter to confirm that the borrower doesn’t qualify for Social Security benefits, being that he or she is earning enough not to need financial assistance.
On the other hand, if applying for government-initiated aid such as housing or energy assistance, applicants are required to show a Social Security benefit letter to prove that they qualify for assistance. Here are the three ways you can get your Social Security benefit letter:
Most local Social Security offices are closed these days duo to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the agency recommends that beneficiaries contact them through their phone numbers and websites. However, due to the pandemic, it may take a while for your requests or queries to be answered, as the office is implementing alternative working arrangements too.
Check the Social Security Administration website on www.ssa.gov on how to create your own online account. Here are the steps you can follow:
- Log on to your My Social Security online account (if you have an existing account).
- Look for the link that says “Get a Benefit Verification Letter”.
- Click “Customize Your Letter” to choose the information to be included in the Social Security benefit letter.
- Click “Apply to Letter”.
- Click “Print Now” or “Save a Copy”.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to request for a Social Security benefit letter on another person’s behalf, unless you’re an active representative payee for this particular person.
Don’t forget to check the Social Security FAQs section to find out more about the answers to your questions. Doing so will save you valuable time in trying to understand the process. This will prevent taking the wrong actions as well.
In some areas where internet connection is highly unreliable, you may need to rely on your good old telephone to get some information or request for a copy of your document. You may get the numbers from the local Social Security offices. If not, you may contact the main number 1-800-772-1213. The SSA’s Interactive Voice Response or automated telephone system is capable of processing various services, including:
- Benefit letter requests
- Benefits statements
- Status of claim
- Application for a replacement card
- Looking for the local office address
- Medicare-related queries
Request in Person
Scheduling an in-person appointment may be necessary in a few cases. Such are the cases when you need to update your personal information, including name and citizenship. In-person appointments may be scheduled through the Social Security Administration’s website and contact numbers. If you’re not sure where the local Social Security office is, check its website or call the numbers too.
Because of the pandemic and the new working arrangements, there are only a few SSA staff who can process requests and answer to your queries. Because of high workload, SSA staff may not be able to explain all the answers to your queries thoroughly.
Getting an appointment will take time, as the office prioritizes beneficiaries who prefer to show up personally at their local offices.
Be Wary of Scams
Some malicious individuals are taking advantage of the pandemic to engage in Social Security scams.
The SSA has warned the public not to believe fraudsters sending letters about Social Security benefits suspension due to office closures amid the pandemic. These con artists further provide a fraudulent contact number to coax beneficiaries to provide personal and credit card information to offer cheap items, among other bogus schemes. The SSA has reiterated that it’ll not suspend the benefits due to the pandemic.
These are the three methods in which you can get a Social Security benefit letter. To limit face-to-face contact and stay safe, online and phone transactions are encouraged. In few situations, an in-person visit to your local office is needed. Remember to practice minimum health safety protocols.