How to File a Complaint Against Social Security

By Ashley Adams-Mott - Updated March 13, 2018

Whether you encounter a rude employee, a problem with your case or a benefits decision you don't agree with, the Social Security Administration provides you with several avenues to file a complaint. The nature of your complaint, such as poor service or a benefit denial, dictates the method of contact. Discrimination and appeals move through a designated process while personal complaints may be filed with your local office.

Tip

Contact your local Social Security office to file a complaint regarding an employee's behavior. To address more serious offenses, such as discrimination, or to file an appeal, call 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security website to start your complaint.

Unpleasant Visits

To complain about a specific employee or experience at a local Social Security office, contact the office. Visit the Social Security Office Locator on the SSA website to find the local phone number or 1-800 number for your office. Call the number and ask to speak to a manager or supervisor to report a negative experience. If you had an unpleasant conversation with an employee over the phone, call back the same number and ask to speak to a supervisor regarding a complaint. Reaching out to the office or call center will lead you to the person a rude or unhelpful employee reports to directly.

Additional Contact Points

When you are not comfortable contacting your local office, the SSA does maintain an online "Contact Us" form for submitting information, such as complaints. You can also call the administration's main line at 1-800-772-1213 to reach a general switchboard where your problem can be addressed. Before calling or emailing, jot down key points to mention on the phone, including the names of any employees involved in your complaint, the reason for your visit and if you still have a problem that needs resolving, such as ordering a new Social Security card.

Discrimination Complaints

The SSA cannot discriminate based on race, ethnicity, disability, age, parental status, gender or sexual orientation. If your complaint extends beyond a personality issue or administrative problem and includes discrimination, Social Security provides a specific complaint form, SSA-437-BK, online or at your local office. Complaints must be filed with 180 days of the action and should be mailed to the Civil Rights Coordinator at your regional office. The form specifies mailing addresses for each of the 10 offices and contains full instructions.

Appealing a Decision

Complaints focused on a decision handed down by the SSA need to be addressed through the formal appeals process for your benefit, such as Supplemental Security Income, retirement benefits or Medicare. After an initial determination is made by a SSA employee, the appeals process includes a reconsideration of the decision. A hearing with an administrative law judge follows the reconsideration phase. An appeals council then considers your claim. If you disagree with the council decision, you can file a civil suit in federal court. If at any stage in the process you receive your desired outcome, such as the receipt of the full benefit you requested, the process concludes.

About the Author

Ashley Adams-Mott has 12 years of small business management experience and has covered personal finance, career and small business topics since 2009. She is a full-time government and public safety reporter and holds a BSBA in accounting from Columbia College. Her work has appeared online with USA Today, The Nest, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance.

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