Identification Number:
EM-21078
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/OCO-CSTs
Originating Office:DCO OPSOS
Title:Handling Inquiries about Title II Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Notices
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:Title II (RSI)
Link To Reference:See Reference at the end of this EM.
 
Retention Date: 05/30/2022

A. Background
This Emergency Message provides guidance to field office (FO) and National 800 Number Network (N8NN) technicians about handling possible inquiries from my Social Security customers concerning the SSA contact address on their online Title II Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) notice(s).

We recently learned that some COLA notices in customers' my Social Security Message Center inbox requires an adjustment to the contact address, which prompts the release of two COLA notices. These instructions will assist technicians in identifying the correct notice and handling inquiries from the public.
NOTE: The Title XVI COLA and Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) Benefit Rate Increase (BRI) notices were not impacted by this error.

B. How to Handle Inquiries from Customers
Follow the guidance below if you get a call from a customer about their incorrect online Title II COLA notice, reissued COLA notice, or non-receipt of their paper notice. (see NL 01201.001 - Online Notices)
NOTE: If you get a request from a customer for a reprint of their COLA notice, there is a possibility there will be two notices in ORS. Check the notice to ensure the notice includes the customer’s local FO address before sending the reprint.

1. Online notice with the WBDOC address
    · Assure the customer that fraud is not involved, provide the local FO address; and
    · Inform the customer that a new notice with the correct FO address will be sent to their my Social Security Message Center inbox.
2. New COLA notice or courtesy email notification
    · Assure the customer (for those that signed up for email notifications) that fraud is not involved and that the second email notification they received is legitimate.
    · Inform customers (who signed up for text message notifications) that text notifications were not released for the updated notice; and
    · Inform the customer that the only update in the notice is the corrected address for their local FO.

    NOTE: If the customer expects to get a paper notice in addition to an online notice, there will be a delay in getting the corrected notice in the mail. We project that all notices will be mailed by January 10, 2022.
3. Non-receipt of the paper COLA notice
    · Inform the customer that we expect all notices to be mailed by January 10, 2022; and
    · The customer may get their new benefit payment before they get their COLA notice.

Direct all program-related and technical questions to your Regional Office (RO) support staff. RO support staff may refer questions, concerns, or problems to their Central Office contacts.

C. Reference
NL 01201.001 Online Notices
EM-21078 - Handling Inquiries about Title II Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Notices - 12/22/2021