NL 10607.105 How Do I Organize a Notice to Ensure Clarity?
A. Features of a well organized notice
A properly organized notice communicates a clear and effective message to the reader. It progresses logically and flows smoothly from the beginning to the end without confusing the reader. A well-organized notice is easier to read and understand and reduces the number of inquiries to SSA.
A well-organized notice groups related information together.
A well-organized notice breaks information into short sections or paragraphs that express only one idea, unless multiple ideas are brief and easy to understand.
A well-organized notice uses descriptive subordinate headings (sub-headings or captions) that allow the reader to quickly find and identify specific material.
B. Ways to organize a notice
You can organize notice content by order of importance or chronologically.
1. Organize by order of importance to an individual
To organize a notice by order of importance for an individual recipient, you must put yourself in the reader’s place. Ask yourself “If I am the notice recipient, what information is the most important to me?” This is usually the information that has the most direct impact, or most directly affects the recipient. Decide what information is the most important, and show this information first. Then, decide what information is the next most important, and show that information next. Continue, like this, until you have placed all the necessary information in its order of importance to the individual.
2. Organize by order of importance for a large group
Organize other notices that are more general in nature and sent to a large group of people rather than a specific recipient (e.g., the 2009 Economic Recovery Payment notice), differently. The most important information for notices sent to a large audience is the information that affects the most readers. Organizing a notice on the basis of importance to the majority of the audience ensures that the information, action, or decision with the greatest significance to the largest number of readers comes first, followed by notice content that involves fewer and fewer readers.
3. Organize chronologically
You can also organize notice content chronologically. Chronological organization arranges topics in the order in which they occur. Use this method to show steps in a process or to explain how a process works. Present the information in the sequence the reader or SSA will follow.