Help Using The POMS

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SSA's Program Operations Manual System (POMS) is the operational reference used by SSA staff to conduct SSA's daily business. This version is complete except for certain internal data entry material and certain sensitive instructions.

The POMS is broken down into several layers. From largest to smallest, they are, Part, Chapter, Subchapter, and Section. "Parts" are the toplevel categories you will see if you click "Table of Contents." They cover a number of broad subject areas. To view the "chapters" in a given part, click the blue triangular buttons to the left of the topic title (users with non-graphical browsers will see a plus-sign (+) and users with screen-reading equipment will usually hear "plus.") The list will expand, outline fashion, and you will see the names of the chapters in that part. Expand any chapter to view the subchapters, and the sections within that subchapter will appear. Click on the title of any section to view that section document.

While viewing a section, you can return to the Table of Contents, perform a search, or page forward and back through the section documents.

The "Expand" and "Collapse" buttons will either fully-expand or fully-collapse the POMS Table of Contents. Be aware that POMS is rather large, more than 20,000 pages, and "Expand" will not be able to fit the entire TOC on one page. Use the "Next Page" and "Previous Page" buttons to move within the TOC.

To perform a search, click the Search button and enter a few specific words you're looking for. Submit the search, and your results will be returned in a list. Click any title in the list to view the document, or modify the search by adding words, and rerun it. If your search produced no results, consider removing one or more words or simplifying your request.

When you are viewing a document retrieved from a search results list, the "next" and "previous" page buttons in the document you view will move you to the next document in the results list, not the next document in the full POMS.

Website operators:

If you wish to provide your users a link to a specific location in the POMS, please use the following syntax:

The site name is always The database name that holds POMS is /poms.nsf The view you're linking to is called /lnx Individual POMS sections are of the format xxyyyzzaaa#b Where xx is the number of the POMS part; yyy is the chapter within that part; zz is the subchapter within that chapter; aaa is the section number. #b is an optional targeted link to a subsection within that section.

So, for example, a link directly to SI 01210.620 would be...

Easiest way to use this? Just browse to the section and copy the URL out of your browser. Be advised that only links in this format are likely to be "durable." If you do a search and get a long-looking URL composed of many, many seemingly-random digits, don't link to it. Those are system-generated dynamic URLs and aren't likely to be as durable and may break when we perform updates and maintenance on the system.

We strongly recommend using the shorter links described above. You, as the website operator, are responsible for making sure your links point to the expected location. The government will not be responsible for any difficulty your users encounter when following a link on your website. You are responsible for maintaining the currency and accuracy of your own links.