Identification Number:
NL 01201 TN 2
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP OISP
Title:Online Notices
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:

Part NL – Notices, Letters and Paragraphs
Chapter 012 – Online Notices
Subchapter 01 – Online Notices
Transmittal No. 2, 12/11/2019


Originating Component


Effective Date

Upon Receipt


This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.

Summary of Changes

NL 01201.001 Online Notices

In subsection B.2.b., we removed the phrase. "a copy of" from the sentence.

NL 01201.001 Online Notices

Social Security Administration is providing the public with online notices and the choice to stop receiving paper versions of some online notices under "Preferences" in the my Social Security application.

This section explains:

  • how users can get available notices online;

  • notice communication preferences;

  • online notices for people with a special notice option (SNO); and

  • what happens to notice communication preferences when the my Social Security account is deactivated or blocked.

A. Online notices process

Online notices are available in the my Social Security portal through the Message Center application.

1. Available notices

The online version of a notice contains the same language as the paper version; however, the format may be different. The following notices are available online.

  • Title II Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

  • Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount Benefit Rate Increase (IRMAA BRI)

  • Recovery and Collection of Overpayment (RECOOP)

  • Preliminary Claims System (PCS) Summary of Potential Benefits Notice

2. How to receive online notices

To receive online notices, users must have a my Social Security account.

The Message Center inbox message will have a hyperlink to the online notice in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Users with a Spanish language preference receive both Spanish and English versions of online notices.

3. Notification preference

The user can receive a courtesy notification when a new notice or message is available. The user can choose from the following notification preferences.

  • Email only

  • Both Text message and Email

  • Text message only

  • Do not send me any notifications

We use the email address and phone number (for text messages) from the user's my Social Security account. To use a different email address or phone number, users can update their my Social Security account information.

NOTE: Courtesy notifications do not contain personally identifiable information because they are not secure methods of communication.

NOTE: If a user receives a notification about a notice and is not sure if the notification is valid, advise him or her to log into their my Social Security account directly from our website at instead of accessing the links or files in the notification.

B. Communication preference

A Message Center feature called “Preferences” provides users the option to stop receiving paper versions of notices that are available online. Message Center will present this option the first time users log on. If a user selects the option to stop receiving paper notices, they do not need to select it again when more notices are available online. Users can change their preference back to mailed paper notices at any time.

1. How to update preferences

In the Message Center, users complete the following steps.

  • Navigate to the Preferences section.

  • Select "Update Preferences"

  • Select a communication preference: "Do not send me a paper copy" or "Send me a paper copy".

  • If selected "Do not send me a paper copy", read and agree with the authorization to stop receiving paper mailings for notices available online.

2. Communication preferences

This section covers the communication preferences available to users.

a. Do not send me a paper copy

For notices that are available online, users receive notices only through their Message Center inbox and will not receive paper notices in the mail. If opting out of paper notices, the user must select a courtesy notification option (email, text, or both).

b. Send me a paper copy

Users will continue to receive paper notices through the mail. If a notice is available online, that notice will be also be in the Message Center.

3. Exceptions to communication preferences

a. Social Security Statement

my Social Security account users who choose to receive paper notices can only access their Social Security Statement online. We send a paper statement only to workers age 60 and over who do not receive benefits; and do not have a my Social Security account.

b. Users with representative payees

Users with representative payees cannot opt out of paper notices at this time.

C. Online notices for people with special notice options

For users who are blind or visually impaired with special notice options, online notices comply with section 508 accessibility requirements.

1. Large print special notice option

When users with a special notice option of large print select, “Do not send me a paper copy” under Preferences, we will no longer send a large print version. If a notice is not available online, the user will continue to receive the large print and standard print notice in the mail. For more information about the large print special notice option, refer to NL 01001.140.

2. Other special notice options

For special notice options other than large print, users who select “Do not send me a paper copy” will continue to receive notices in their special notice option format.

D. Deactivated and blocked my Social Security accounts

This section explains what happens with a user's communication preference if the user’s my Social Security account is deactivated or blocked.

1. Deactivated accounts

When a user deactivates his or her my Social Security account, Social Security:

  • removes the online notice preference, and

  • sends future paper notices through USPS mail.

When a my Social Security account is reactivated the user can reselect to opt out and will have access to online notices since the reactivation.

2. Blocked accounts

When a user’s my Social Security account is blocked, Social Security:

  • removes the online notice preference, and

  • sends future paper notices through USPS mail.

When the account is unblocked, the user can update preferences again to stop receiving paper versions of online notices.

NL 01201 TN 2 - Online Notices - 12/11/2019