The Social Security Administration is a federal agency that administers several social insurance programs, including disability, retirement and survivors benefits. As an agency that serves millions of people, it is not surprising that it receives a lot of customer service calls every day.
People call Social Security for a range of reasons, including:
You can call Social Security 24 hours per day to use its automated phone system. The system provides informational recordings and allows you to perform some business functions, such as requesting forms or checking on the status of a claim.
If you need to speak to a live operator, representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm. TTY services are also available during this time. The Social Security Administration advises callers that wait times are shorter after Tuesdays.
Before calling Social Security, make sure you have your Social Security number in front of you, as well as any correspondence between you and the agency. You should also have pen and paper handy so that you can take notes during your call.
Everyone should be aware that scammers often pose as Social Security representatives as a way of stealing identities or money. If you need to call Social Security, check the phone number provided on SSA.gov.
Do not rely on a number provided to you in an email or by someone who calls you. You should also be aware that the Social Security Administration has stated that it sends letters to people if there is an issue with their Social Security number, contributions or benefits and will never threaten people over the phone or demand immediate payment in the form of gift cards or wire transfers.
Over the past decade, The Social Security Administration closed many of its field offices, which resulted in an increased number of calls to Social Security customer support. This, in turn, led to long wait times to speak to customer service representatives.
Media reports indicate that many Social Security call centers were plagued by low employee morale and high turnover. It should be noted, however, that Social Security Administration leadership has publicly committed to improved customer service.
Social Security customer service representatives can answer a wide range of questions regarding Social Security programs as well as some questions about your account, benefits and claim status. The representative can also guide you toward the forms that you will need to initiate processes that can't be completed over the phone.
Some highly sensitive issues, such as requesting a new Social Security number due to domestic violence or identity theft, cannot be handled over the phone. Similarly, while a customer service representative can advise you on replacing a Social Security card, you will have to make your request in person or through the mail.
If you get off the phone with Social Security and feel as though your question was not answered properly or that your issue was not resolved, don't give up. You have options available to you.
First, review the notes you took during your call. Did you fail to provide some information to the agent? Did the agent contradict him or herself or official Social Security policy? Identifying any issues with your conversation can be helpful if you need to call back or escalate your case.
Next, call back. While doing so can be frustrating, there is a chance that the next person you speak to will have more education or experience and may be better able to resolve your issue.
If a second call doesn't provide you with the outcome you desire, get in touch with your nearest field office and make an appointment to meet in person with a Social Security Administration employee.