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The Function of the Social Security Office

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

110. The Function of the Social Security Office

110.1 What services can your local Social Security Office provide?

Your local Social Security office is the place where you can:

  1. Apply for a Social Security number;

  2. Check on your earnings record;

  3. Apply for Social Security benefits, SSI, hospital insurance protection, and extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs;

  4. Enroll for medical insurance;

  5. Receive assistance in applying for food stamps; and

  6. Get full information about individual and family rights and obligations under the law.

There is no charge for the services of the office staff.

110.2 How can you obtain Social Security services?

You can call our toll-free telephone number, 1-800-772-1213, to receive the services listed in (A) - (F) above. This toll-free telephone number service is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. any business day. All calls are confidential. The toll-free telephone number is not accessible from outside the United States. For information on how to obtain services when you are outside the United States, see:

110.3 Are there other places you can meet Social Security office staff other than the local offices?

If you live far away from the city or town in which the local office is located, our staff makes regular visits to outlying areas. We make visits to locations called contact stations. You can obtain a schedule of these visits from the nearest Social Security office. You can also telephone the nearest Social Security office or call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, to obtain prompt answers to questions or to apply for benefits.

If necessary, a representative from our office will make a personal visit to your home if you are unable to visit the office or contact station because of illness or infirmity. (See §1512.)

110.4 Where can you find contact information for the nearest Social Security office?

For the telephone number or address of the nearest Social Security office, look in the telephone directory in the blue pages for Social Security Administration under "United States Government." You can also call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 or access the SSA website (, for assistance.

110.5 Where are SSA's regional offices located?

We have regional offices headed by Regional Commissioners who are directly responsible for the Social Security offices located within a specified area. There are approximately 1,300 Social Security offices throughout the U.S., the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa that deal directly with the public as described throughout this Chapter. Each region also has a number of teleservice centers located primarily in metropolitan areas. These offices handle telephone inquiries and refer callers appropriately.

110.6 Where are SSA's program service centers located?

Program service centers are located in Birmingham, Alabama; Chicago, Illinois; Kansas City, Missouri; New York, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Richmond, California. These offices, along with the Office of International Operations and the Office of Disability Operations in Baltimore, Maryland, house and service the records of individuals who are receiving Social Security benefits.

110.7 What is the purpose of the Office of Hearings and Appeals?

The Office of Hearings and Appeals oversees the nationwide hearings and appeals program for the Social Security Administration. Administrative law judges hold hearings and make decisions when a claimant or organization appeals a decision affecting rights to benefits or participation in Social Security programs.

110.8 Where are administrative law judges located?

Administrative law judges are located in or travel to major cities throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. The Appeals Council, located in Falls Church, Virginia, also may review hearing decisions. (See Chapter 20.)

110.9 What is the purpose of the Office of Central Records Operations?

The Office of Central Records Operations maintains records of individuals' earnings and prepares benefit computations.

110.10 Where is the Office of Central Records Operations located?

The major operations are located in Salinas, California; and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. (See §113 and §114.) Data processing is the responsibility of the Office of Systems located in Baltimore, Maryland.

Last Revised: Apr. 18, 2006

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