SSA Letter Forwarding to Be Discontinued

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it will discontinue its letter-forwarding program, through which it attempts to help third-parties communicate serious financial or familial matters to “missing” individuals, in one month.

On or around May 17, the SSA will stop the forwarding service. Since 1945, the agency has provided the service to the public for both humanitarian and monetary reasons. The humanitarian reason is when the health or welfare of an individual is at risk and the requestor of the forwarding provides the SSA with a compelling reason to show that person would want to be aware of the circumstances. The monetary reason is for situations in which the individual who is being sought is due something of value and is not aware of that fact.

The SSA states that since the Internet now offers numerous locator solutions through free social media websites and for-pay locator service providers, the public can now reliably locate people without the agency’s forwarding service. Because of this fact, and as a cost-saving measure, the SSA has decided to discontinue the letter-forwarding service.

The Internal Revenue Service discontinued its own letter-forwarding service in August 2012 for similar reasons (see “IRS Stops Forwarding Letters for Missing Participants”).

More information about the program, and its discontinuation, can be accessed by contacting Esset Tate at the Office of Public Service and Operations Support, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401, or by calling 410-966-8502.

The announcement from the SSA can be downloaded here.