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Program Service Center Functions

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

111. Program Service Center Functions

111.1 What functions do the program service centers perform?

Program service centers act as processing centers. They make formal decisions as to entitlement on many claims for Social Security benefits (See § 110). (See § 116 regarding disability insurance benefits; Chapter 24 regarding payment of hospital and medical insurance benefits; Chapter 21 regarding SSI claims; and § 115 regarding claims from beneficiaries residing abroad.)

At the program service center, a permanent claims folder is set up for the claims material. It may be reviewed for the following:

  1. To see that the necessary applications and forms have been properly completed;

  2. To make sure all the evidence needed for the claim has been obtained;

  3. To ensure all requirements set by law have been met; and

  4. To check that all benefit amounts have been figured correctly.

111.2 How are you notified by the program service center when it makes a decision on your claim?

If the program service center finds that you are entitled to benefits, your claim is approved and the U.S. Treasury Department is notified that payment should be made. If you are entitled to hospital or medical insurance protection, the program service center advises you of the decision and sends you a health insurance identification card. If you are not entitled to monthly benefits or to hospital or medical insurance protection, your claim is denied.

The program service center prepares and mails the notice of award or denial to you. This notice shows the type and amount of benefit awarded; or explains why the claim was not approved and how you may appeal.

Last Revised: Jul. 7, 2005


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