Reading Level Standard
Clear Writing Guidelines
For information on writing in plain language, see NL 00610.030.
Show addresses single-spaced with even margins in block format
Show the return address of the originating component 4” from the left side and 1½” minimum from the top of the page or as needed for placement in a double-window envelope
Show the mailing address at the left margin approximately 2½” from the top of the page or as needed for placement in a window envelope
Show a servicing office address in the referral paragraph, placed 3½” from the left side of the page
For information on margins and spacing for addresses, see NL 00610.070C.3.
Bullets and Lists
Do not use a bulleted or numbered list for only one item
Place bullets ¼” from the left margin
Place bulleted text ½” from the left margin
For more information on using bullets and numbered lists, see NL 00610.060D.
For information on using bullets as an emphasis technique, see NL 00610.060G.
For information on the margins and spacing for bullets, see NL 00610.070C.4.
Charts and Tables
Use charts and tables to increase clarity
For information on using tables and charts, see NL 00610.060E.
For information on margins and spacing for tables and charts, see NL 00610.070C.5.
Use emphasis techniques if appropriate
Do not bold or underline more than two consecutive lines of text
Never use exclamation points
For additional information on emphasis techniques, see NL 00610.060G.
List each enclosure on a separate, single-spaced line
Place “Enclosure(s)” left-justified below the signature and title block
For information on how to list notice enclosures, see NL 00610.060K.
For information on margins and spacing for enclosure information, see NL 00610.070C.7.
20 lb. white bond paper for one-sided notices
50 lb. white bond paper for two-sided notices
For information on ink and paper guidelines, see NL 00610.070A.
Incorporate SSA Internet links in notices whenever possible
For information on incorporating Internet website information, see NL 00610.060H.
Top and bottom margins - ½” minimum
Left and right margins - 1” minimum
Do not justify the right margin
For additional information on margins, see NL 00610.070C.1.
Spacing of text
Single-spacing for text
Double-spacing between paragraphs, subordinate headings (subheadings, captions) and subsequent text, bullets, and blocks of information
For additional information on spacing of text, see NL 00610.070C.1.
Multiple - Page Notices
First page does not contain a page number
Page numbers shown on second and all subsequent pages, right-justified in the upper-right corner, using the format “Page x of x”
Center “See Next Page” or “See Other Side” at the bottom of the first page, two lines after the last line of text
Place a name, claim (or case) number, date, or other appropriate data left-justified in the upper-left corner on the second and all subsequent pages
Ensure that at least two lines of text follow a subordinate heading (subheading, caption) on a page
Do not break sentences between pages
Never show signature or signature title alone on the last page
For more specific multiple-page guidelines, see NL 00610.070D.
Provide appropriate SSA and other contact information
For more specific information about using a referral paragraph, see NL 00610.060I.
Depends on notice type. For information about specific signatures used, refer to NL 00601.003.
Place the notice signature and title block approximately 4¼” from the left side of the page and on the fifth line after the end of the text
For information on using signatures and signature titles, see NL 00610.060J.
For information on the margins and spacing for the notice signature, see NL 00610.070C.6.
Use for complex computations and actions
For information on using summary sheets, see NL 00610.060L.
For information on multiple-page notices, see NL 00610.070D.
Use upper and lowercase Century Schoolbook or Times New Roman - 12-point medium
Use Arabic numerals instead of numbers written out in word form, unless the number starts a sentence
Write out months (for example, January)
For further information about font guidelines for notice text, see NL 00610.070B.1.
Titles and Salutations
Using titles and salutations is optional. To include a title for an adult, use Mr. or Ms.
Titles are not shown in the mailing address
For information on using salutations, see NL 00610.060A.
For information on using titles, see NL 00610.060B.