A Social Security award letter is an official document notifying recipients that their application for Social Security benefits has been approved, and payments will be sent, explains the article “What Is a Social Security Award Letter?” from U.S. News & World Report. There’s another type of document, a benefit verification letter, which includes more details about benefits and can be used as proof of income from Social Security.
The award letter confirms you’ll begin to receive benefits, lays out the next steps you need to take to receive benefits, and can be used if there’s any question about your eligibility. This document is essential, so keep it secure with other related paperwork.
The Social Security Administration issues these letters once their application for benefits has been approved. They show the information about your qualifications, prove you’re entitled to benefits, and help guide you in making the right choices to get benefits.
The first step is to apply for benefits, which you may do by filling out an online application on the Social Security website, calling a local office to speak with a representative, or going to the local Social Security office in person.
If you are not awarded benefits for some reason, you may be able to appeal the decision.
Once benefits begin to be paid, you may receive a benefits verification letter, also known as a benefits letter, a budget letter, a proof of income letter, or a proof of award letter.
These documents may be needed if you are applying for housing, a loan, or other financial transactions. Keep them handy.
There are different types of people who receive Social Security awards letters. Retirees who have worked and paid into the system are eligible once they meet the criteria, including enough work credits. Retirees may apply for benefits as early as 62 and as late as 70. If you sign up for benefits before your full retirement age, you might see reduced benefits for a temporary period.
Those who have worked and paid into the system and become disabled may receive disability benefits. These benefits are to help cover the loss of income and may help support the family of a disabled individual.
Surviving spouses and dependents of eligible workers may receive survivor benefits. These are designed to support family members, especially young children when a working person dies. Typically benefits arrive within 30 to 90 days after the award letter is received.
If you are expecting a Social Security award letter soon and you have not done any estate planning yet, or your estate plan is more than five years old, you would benefit from speaking with one of Beck & Lenox’s estate planning attorneys. New clients can schedule a free phone consultation to start the process by clicking here. Current Beck & Lenox clients should call the office to schedule an appointment.
Reference: U.S. News & World Report (Aug. 14, 2023) “What Is a Social Security Award Letter?”