Keep Those COLA Letters

Every time Social Security makes a change to your benefit amount, we send a letter to you notifying you of the change. It starts when you first start to receive benefits and later when cost of living increases occur. That first letter is called your Award Letter. You should keep it with your important papers because other organizations may ask you to show it to them when applying for a benefit, help or some assistance.

Other changes might be due to increases from additional work, when you start to receive Medicare Part B and pay the premium from your check, or if you became overpaid. The most common change to your check amount comes in most years when Social Security has a cost of living increase (COLA). The letter you receive about new your new rate in January is also an important document. Keep it with your other important records.

Many programs that offer assistance such as low-income housing, utility programs, health programs and many others need to verify your income to determine whether they can offer you some assistance. That is where your Social Security COLA letter comes in handy. You can let the program administrator make a copy and keep the original for yourself.

What happens if you lost or misplaced your letter? You can get a benefit verification letter through your my Social Security account. Don’t have an account yet? You can get one here:

The benefit verification letter can verify your benefit amount, your Medicare deduction, the day of the month your benefits are paid, benefits for the prior year, the type of benefit you receive, your date of birth according to our records, and your Medicare entitlement dates.

So, keep your COLA letters with your other important papers.  But, remember if you misplace your letter, you can get a benefit verification letter immediately by using your my Social Security account.

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