TN 4 (05-92)

RM 05006.001 Choosing the Appropriate Form of Communication


Reply by letter for the conditions listed below:

1. Letters

  • communications with members of Congress

  • communications with the public

  • communications with the officials of State, local, or foreign governments

  • nonroutine correspondence with other Federal agencies

  • personal correspondence within the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) such as commendations, reprimands, resignations, and suggestion replies.

2. Memorandums

Reply by memorandum when:

  • corresponding with offices and individuals within SSA and DHHS

  • sending routine communications to other Federal agencies (e.g., the Office of Central Records Operations (OCRO) uses a memorandum, when corresponding with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about earnings record matters).

NOTE: Never send a memorandum to a non-Federal addressee.

3. Quick Notes (Form SSA-L1005)

Use a Quick Note when:

  • the incoming letter can be adequately answered by a short, handwritten note.

EXAMPLES : The inquiry is being transferred within or outside SSA for reply; acknowledgement of receipt of information which we have requested; reemphasis of something previously told the inquirer but misunderstood; return of material erroneously sent to us; forwarding inquirer requested information or material.

  • the reply will consist of three sentences or less.

  • the reply will fit the alloted space on the form.

  • your handwriting or printing is legible. See RM 05010.001 for preparation instructions.

NOTE: Do not use a Quick Note when:

  • a form letter, model letter or dictated letter would be more informative and responsive to the inquiry.

  • a formal response is clearly more appropriate.

  • “bad news” is communicated to the recipient (e.g., notices of adverse adjustments, whereabouts denials, apologies for having lost something sent to us, etc.).

4. Telegrams

Reply by telegram only when there is an urgent need. See Chapter 10 of the SSA Secretarial Handbook.

5. Reply on Incoming Communication

Write, type or stamp a simple acknowledgement or informal comment when appropriate and authorized by procedure on the incoming correspondence including:

  • preprinted request forms designed for entering information in certain spaces.

  • employer replies to our requests for earnings information that require nothing more than an acknowledgement or receipt.

6. Intradepartmental Route Slip (Form OF-41)

  • Use this form for the informal routing of material within the department for the purposes indicated in the check-off portion of the form.

  • Make comments in the “Remarks” space where the items in the check-off portion of the form are not sufficient to inform the recipient of the reason the material was routed.

  • Enter the complete identification of the sender in the appropriate spaces.

NOTE: Do not use this route slip:

  • in place of a memorandum

  • for formal approvals, disapprovals, concurrences or similar official actions.

7. NAN Correspondence

No Answer Necessary (“NAN”) can be shown on the incoming correspondence followed by your clerk number and date if no reply is deemed necessary and you are rerouting it.

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RM 05006.001 - Choosing the Appropriate Form of Communication - 05/13/1992
Batch run: 02/06/2015