Social Security Customer Service

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a wide variety of resources to help you sign up for benefits, check your application status, inquire about Medicare and update your personal information within their database. You can contact Social Security’s customer service online, over the phone, through the mail or in person at a local Social Security office. While it’s easiest to access resources online, some services are only available in person or through the mail. Learn where certain services are offered so you contact the right SSA customer service outlet.

  • Written by
    Lindsey Crossmier

    Lindsey Crossmier

    Financial Writer

    Lindsey Crossmier is an accomplished writer with experience working for The Florida Review and Bookstar PR. As a financial writer, she covers Medicare, life insurance and dental insurance topics for RetireGuide. Research-based data drives her work.

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  • Edited By
    Savannah Pittle
    Savannah Pittle, senior financial editor for RetireGuide

    Savannah Pittle

    Senior Financial Editor

    Savannah Pittle is a professional writer and content editor with over 16 years of professional experience across multiple industries. She has ghostwritten for entrepreneurs and industry leaders and been published in mediums such as The Huffington Post, Southern Living and Interior Appeal Magazine.

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  • Reviewed By
    Brandon Renfro, Ph.D., CFP®, RICP®, EA
    Brandon Renfro, RetireGuide Reviewer

    Brandon Renfro, Ph.D., CFP®, RICP®, EA

    Retirement and Social Security Expert

    Brandon Renfro is a Retirement and Social Security Expert and financial planner. He focuses on helping clients create a secure financial future in retirement and co-owns Belonging Wealth Management. He is also a former finance professor and writes for several publications.

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  • Published: March 2, 2023
  • Updated: October 20, 2023
  • 8 min read time
  • This page features 11 Cited Research Articles
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A qualified expert reviewed the content on this page to ensure it is factually accurate, meets current industry standards and helps readers achieve a better understanding of retirement topics.

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How to Cite RetireGuide.com's Article

APA Crossmier, L. (2023, October 20). Social Security Customer Service. RetireGuide.com. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.retireguide.com/social-security/customer-service/

MLA Crossmier, Lindsey. "Social Security Customer Service." RetireGuide.com, 20 Oct 2023, https://www.retireguide.com/social-security/customer-service/.

Chicago Crossmier, Lindsey. "Social Security Customer Service." RetireGuide.com. Last modified October 20, 2023. https://www.retireguide.com/social-security/customer-service/.

Key Takeaways
  • You can contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) online, over the phone, through the mail or in person.
  • If you want to speak to a live person at the SSA, dial 1-800-772-1213 anytime from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time on weekdays.
  • Due to understaffing issues, you’re likely to get a faster answer from the SSA by looking into their online resources instead of calling or going to a local Social Security office near you.
  • You can apply for most Social Security benefits, check your estimated future payments and track the status of your application online with your my Social Security account.
  • There are additional contact resources if you’re hard of hearing, deaf or contacting the SSA from outside the U.S.

Contacting Social Security by Phone

Call 1-800-772-1213 anytime from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to speak to a live representative at the Social Security Administration. This service will not be available on national holidays. Instead, you can use the SSA’s automated telephone service, which is available 24 hours a day.

Call volumes are typically higher during the first week of the month. In January 2023, the average wait time over the phone was roughly 40 minutes, according to the SSA. To avoid a long wait, there are specific times the SSA recommends calling.

Best Times To Contact the SSA for Shorter Wait Times
  • Between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. (local time)
  • Between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. (local time)
  • Wednesday through Friday
  • Later in the month

What You Can Do Over the Phone

You can apply for Social Security retirement, disability and survivors benefits over the phone. You can also start your application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you’re reaching out to the automated phone services by dialing 1-800-772-1213, TTY 1-800-325-0778, they offer a variety of resources.

With SSA’s automated phone service you can:
  • Request a benefit verification letter
  • Ask for Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, to request a replacement tax summary
  • Ask to receive a claim status
  • Find the address of your local Social Security office
  • Request Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card
It’s often quicker and easier to find what information you need online and file the appropriate forms. However, you can reach the SSA by phone or go to a local office if you need to.

Contacting Social Security Online

The easiest and most accessible way to contact the SSA is online. You can explore a variety of online resources on the SSA website and manage your benefits through your my Social Security account.

You can sign up for retirement benefits, disability benefits and SSI. You can also sign up for Medicare benefits. Note that you currently can’t sign up for survivors benefits online — you’d need to call or visit a local office to sign up.

Online Services Offered
  • Apply for retirement, disability and Medicare benefits
  • Get an estimate on your future benefit amount
  • Check the status of a Social Security application or appeal
  • Request a replacement Social Security card
  • Print a benefit verification letter
  • View your earnings history
  • Change your address
  • Print out your 1099 form
  • Set up or change your direct deposit
  • Apply for Extra Help

Social Security’s FAQ Page

The SSA has an FAQ page, where 200+ frequently asked questions are already answered and available at your convenience. Topics range from the 2023 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and how to maximize your benefits to working while collecting Social Security and more.

If you don’t see your question listed on the FAQ page, you can send an email to SSA’s online customer service support. The SSA requests that you don’t include your Social Security number in the email. If you don’t want to wait for a response, you could always call or visit a local Social Security office near you to speak to a person instead.

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Contacting Social Security in Person

There are over approximately 1,230 local field offices to provide you assistance, according to the Social Security Administration. To find an office near you, use the SSA’s office locator tool. Once you input your zip code, you will be provided the address, phone number and hours for the location closest to you. You can also print out a map and directions from this page.

Note that all Social Security offices are closed for federal holidays in 2023.

It would be in your best interest to schedule an appointment online or over the phone before visiting your local office. SSA staffing is at its lowest level in the last 25 years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. With Social Security beneficiaries on the rise and workloads increasing, you could face a long wait time if you choose an in-person visit to your local office without an appointment.

Local Social Security Office Hours
Monday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Thursday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed

What You Can Do at an Office

You can apply for retirement, disability or survivors benefits in person at your local Social Security office. You can also start the process to sign up for SSI.

If you need to supply documentation to the SSA, like Form SS-5 for changing your information on your Social Security card, you can also drop off the documents at an office near you.

Contacting Social Security by Mail

While you can contact the SSA by mail, the SSA recommends calling first. You will get a much faster response this way.

If you do decide to contact the SSA by mail, use the address listed below. Make sure to include your Social Security number or claim number within the letter so the SSA can properly identify you.

Social Security Mailing Address
Social Security Administration
Office of Public Inquiries and Communications Support
1100 West High Rise 6401 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21235

If you’re trying to send in an application, or provide documents to request a Social Security number or benefits, do not use the mailing address above. Call your local Social Security office to clarify where to send your documents and application.

Pro tip
If you’re trying to mail your completed Form SS-5 and documents, send them to your local Social Security office, not the address listed above.
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Contacting Social Security for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired

If you’re deaf or hard of hearing and use TTY equipment, you can contact the SSA using their TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.

If you’d like to schedule an in-person appointment at a local Social Security office, they will provide free accommodations.

Free Accommodation Services Offered by the SSA for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired
  • A certified and qualified sign language interpreter
  • Handwritten notes
  • Lip-reading or speech reading
  • Telephone devices for the deaf (TDD or TTY)

If you’re interested in any of these accommodations, you’ll need to call in advance. Call 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY), between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday to notify them of your requested accommodation.

Contacting Social Security from Outside the United States

If you currently live outside the U.S. or are planning to leave the U.S., the SSA’s Office of Earnings & International Operations (OEIO) will provide different customer service resources tailored for your needs.

There are Social Security Field Offices and American embassies outside the U.S. to help connect you to the right SSA resources. You can access their information by using SSA’s Country and Region Office Contact Information tool to find an office near you.

To contact the SSA by phone, dial 410-965-0160 anytime between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., eastern U.S. time. You will need to pay for the call, since the SSA doesn’t offer toll-free service calls from outside the U.S.

Contact by Mail
If you need help with:Mail your letter to:
If you’re not currently receiving benefits, but want to look into your eligibility, send a letter to the address listed to the right. Make sure you include your Social Security number in the letter so they can properly identify you. Social Security Administration
Office of Earnings & International Operations
P.O. Box 17775
Baltimore, Maryland 21235-7775
If you or a loved one is already receiving Social Security benefits and you need to report a change in status, send a letter to the address listed to the right. Make sure you include your Social Security number in the letter so they can properly identify you.Social Security Administration
Office of Earnings & International Operations
P.O. Box 17769
Baltimore, Maryland 21235-7769

If all you need is a form, the SSA has a list of links to access forms for foreign applicants and beneficiaries.

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Last Modified: October 20, 2023

11 Cited Research Articles

  1. Social Security Administration. (2023, February 6). Open Government Initiative. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/open/data/800-number-average-speed-to-answer.html
  2. Social Security Administration. (2023). 2023 Holiday Closings of Social Security Offices. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/agency/holidays.html
  3. Social Security Administration. (2023). Office Closings. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/agency/emergency/officeclosing.html
  4. Romig, K. (2022, May 26). Policymakers Must Act To Address Social Security Service Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.cbpp.org/blog/policymakers-must-act-to-address-social-security-service-crisis
  5. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Contact Social Security by Mail. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/agency/contact/mail.html
  6. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Contact Social Security by Phone. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/agency/contact/phone.html
  7. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). If You Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/people/deaf/
  8. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). New York Region. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/ny/services-800.htm
  9. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Office of Earnings & International Operations. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/foreign/index.html
  10. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Online Services. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/onlineservices/
  11. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Organizational Structure of the Social Security Administration. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/org/