Identification Number:
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/PSCs/OCO/
Originating Office:DCO OPSOS
Title:New Instructions for the Processing of the Electronic SSA-820 and SSA-821
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:Title II (RSI); Title VIII (SVB); Title XVI (SSI); Disability
Link To Reference:See References at the end of this EM.
Retention Date: 08/18/2022

A. Purpose

This Emergency Message (EM) notifies technicians of a new online service option for beneficiaries and claimants to complete and submit forms SSA-820 (Work Activity Report – Self-Employment) and SSA-821 (Work Activity Report – Employee) electronically. The online versions of the forms provide an alternate service delivery channel for beneficiaries and claimants and are available to the public at Beneficiaries or claimants who need to complete a SSA-820 or SSA-821 now have the option to use the online service to complete the form in lieu of returning a completed paper form by mail or in person. This EM outlines these changes and provides instructions for utilizing the online SSA-820 (e820) and the online SSA-821 (e821).

B. Policy

Claimants applying for disability insurance benefits (DIB) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or currently entitled DIB beneficiaries undergoing a work continuing disability review (CDR) are required to provide information about their work activity. The SSA-820 and SSA-821 are forms used to document work activity and applicable work incentives prior to making a substantial gainful activity (SGA) determination for initial claims, expedited reinstatements (EXR), or work CDRs. Now, the claimant or beneficiary has the additional option to complete the form online and submit it electronically. The claimant or beneficiary can also electronically submit proof of work activity, such as a pay stub in PDF format, as an attachment(s) at the same time that they submit the form.

At the initial claim interview, the technician should complete the SSA-820/SSA-821 with the claimant or during the interview. During post entitlement (PE) events, or if the claimant or beneficiary files online using iClaim, the technician should call and complete the form over the phone. If the claimant or beneficiary cannot complete the form during the call, offer to send the online link for the claimant or beneficiary to complete the form himself/herself. The link can be sent through the eMailer program. If you are unable to speak to the claimant or beneficiary, or if he or she prefers to fill out a paper form, mail the paper form. See DI 10505.035.C. and DI 10510. 025.C.

When a claimant or beneficiary contacts Social Security and requests a replacement SSA-820/SSA-821 form, after properly identifying the caller/visitor, the technician may use eMailer to send a link to the claimant or beneficiary for the online option in lieu of completing a paper SSA-820/SSA-821 that he or she received in the mail. The technician will verbally provide the work development date that should be entered on the form or refer the beneficiary or claimant to use the date recorded on the paper form that he or she received from SSA in the mail.

The e820/e821 will be electronically completed by the claimant or beneficiary and will not have any pre-filled text on the form. The link for the blank e820/e821 can be emailed or texted to the claimant or beneficiary through the eMailer program. The claimant or beneficiary does not need an account with my Social Security to complete the e820/e821. The blank forms are also available to the public, generally, for completion at

C. Instructions for the eMailer program for the e820/e821

To send a link to the e820/e821 using the eMailer program, follow the instructions below:

Confirm with the claimant or beneficiary (1) his or her correct email address or cell phone number, and (2) that he or she consents to receiving email or text communication from the Social Security Administration.

Depending on the beneficiary’s or claimant’s communication preference, select “Send Email” or “Send Text”

Under “Forms/Publications” select either the SSA-820 or the SSA-821

Once the confirmation button is checked, hit “Send” in the eMailer program.

Important Information: When communicating with the claimant or beneficiary about online completion of the form, you will need to advise them of the appropriate work development date. Generally, the date is either the alleged onset date, the potential onset date, or the last work CDR decision date. This date is necessary for accurately completing the form and determining the potential onset date or making SGA determinations.

The e820/e821must be electronically completed, signed, and submitted in a single session. The system will end the session after 60 minutes of inactivity.

D. Completion of the e820/e821

    The link provided through the eMailer program will only send a generic (non-personalized) link to the e820‘s or the e821‘s landing page. This landing page is the same webpage that any member of the public could visit at to access these same forms. The claimant or beneficiary must have a valid email address to be able to complete the e820/e821.

    At the form’s landing page, the claimant or beneficiary will provide his or her email address into the online application. They will then receive the following on-screen message:

    They will then receive an email with the link to complete a blank form. This is an example of the email received:

    After 60 minutes of inactivity, the system will end the beneficiary’s or claimant’s session; any previously entered information will be lost and the beneficiary or claimant will have to start a new session by clicking the “Review and sign” link in the email from Adobe Sign.

    E. Reminders

    · Once the claimant or beneficiary enters his or her email address on the form’s landing page online (whether through the eMailer link or by visiting and clicks “Submit,” he or she will have 15 calendar days to complete the e820/e821.

    · The claimant or beneficiary will receive an email reminder every 3 days until the form is completed, signed, and submitted electronically or until the link expires (15 calendar days).

      · When a session ends due to inactivity (60 minutes) or the claimant or beneficiary closes the form before submitting it to SSA, any previously entered information will be lost and the beneficiary or claimant will have to start a new form using the “Review and sign” link from the Adobe Sign email.
        · If the claimant or beneficiary does not successfully submit the form within 15 calendar days, the “Review and sign” link in the Adobe Sign email will expire, and he or she will have to restart the process by obtaining a new link at the form’s landing page.

        · If they are unable to locate the email confirming successful submission of the form, recommend that they check their spam folder. If the claimant or beneficiary does not receive an email confirming successful submission of the form within a few minutes of his or her online submission of the completed e820/e821, he or she will need to access the “Review and sign” link provided in the Adobe Sign email to complete and resubmit the form again.

        F. Proof of Work Activity:

          The claimant or beneficiary can also submit proof of work activity or other supporting proof electronically with the e820/e821. If they indicate that they are enclosing pay stubs, a gross wage print-out, or proof of earnings, they will be required to attach documentation. They will also have the ability to submit additional documentation prior to submitting the form.

          G. Successful Submission of the e820/e821
            After the claimant or beneficiary electronically completes and signs the e820/e821, he or she will have the opportunity to download a copy of the completed and signed e820/e821 within the online application.


            He or she will then receive a confirmation email:

            H. Receipt of Completed e820/e821
              The submitted e820/e821 will be electronically routed to the jurisdictional FO in Worktrack based on the claimant’s or beneficiary’s zip code. When the FO determines that PC has jurisdiction of the case, the FO will utilize the Paperless feature in Worktrack to route the documentation to the jurisdictional PC.

              I. Documenting the Electronic Delivery of the e820/e821
                After texting/emailing the electronic link to the landing page for the e820 or the e821 to the claimant or beneficiary through the eMailer program, the technician should document the development worksheet (DW01) in MSSICS/MCS or the development worksheet of eWork to adjust the issue date of the 820/821 to allow the beneficiary to have the 15 days to complete the online form, and then put in remarks “online form request extended due date”.

                  J. References
                    DI 10510.025 Documenting Self-Employment Cases Using the SSA-820-BK (Work Activity Report-Self-Employment) and the SSA-823 (Report of SGA Determination- For SSA Use Only)
                    DI 10505.035 Documenting Employment Cases Using Forms SSA-821-BK (Work Activity Report - Employee) and SSA-823 (Report of SGA Determination - For SSA Use Only)
                    DI 11005.016 Forms Used in Title II & Title XVI Disability Claims
                    DI 22501.002 Responsibilities for Case Development of Disability Claims
                    DI 81010.120 Using Form Attestation for Work Activity Reports

                    EM-21053 - New Instructions for the Processing of the Electronic SSA-820 and SSA-821 - 8/19/2021