You Know What I Mean

July 14, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: July 14, 2016

plain-language blogWe want our friends, family, and even business partners to know exactly what we’re saying when we say it.

As a government agency that takes pride in serving our customers, we want you to understand our answers to your questions the first time, too.

At Social Security, we understand that clear and effective communication means more than just promptly taking a customer’s phone call or directing them to a helpful website. We want to provide useful information in a clear and easy-to-understand way, in writing, on the web, and over the phone. June was National Effective Communications Month, but at Social Security, we’re at the forefront of clear, concise communications all year round.

Our efforts to communicate clearly with the American public earned us high ratings in customer satisfaction and usability. We scored an “A” on the 2014 Federal Plain Language Report Card from the Center for Plain Language. This grade means we’re exceeding the standards of the Plain Writing Act of 2010, which requires federal agencies to communicate clearly with the public. We’re the only federal agency to earn this honor for two consecutive years!

Not only is our website easy to navigate and understand, our publications and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are easy to read and understand, as well. You can browse through our collection of publications at to learn about Social Security, about our programs, and about what they mean to you and your family. Many publications are available in up to 17 languages, and they’re written in plain language. If you prefer a printed copy of a publication, you can call us at 410-965-2039, and we’ll mail a copy to you.

You can visit our FAQs and publications for accurate information at your convenience. Nothing is more important to us than meeting the needs of those we serve. We thank you, our customers, for your valuable feedback and vote of confidence!


See Comments

About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. Barb

    PS: I await your reply.
    Thank you for your kind consideration in this urgent matter on behalf of everyone on this site!!!

  2. Barb

    I’ve read all of the above comments.
    I’m curious Mr. Walker, have you or anyone connected with SS read any of these comments? If so, have any of these individuals received any assistance/help with their concerns/problems? If not, why??? What is the hold up??? Web site is nice, thou totally non-functional, if no one is reading the comments and assisting your readers. What is the point of having this forum, if you and your staff are not going to respond??? I’m simply curious???

    • John O.

      Any staff, SSA or otherwise is not able to respond to personal problems on this site. The person complaining would have to give out too much information to the general public and in addition, the complainant would have to have to ability to write clearly. This article on clear communications postulates that the SSA tries to be clear in their communications but an effective conversation has to have both parties with the ability to write clearly, otherwise all we have is one party bragging about all the good that they do.

  3. Randy S.

    All i see is all talk; I’ve paid in since i was 12 years old, when in Army at 17 proudly served for 10 years! Worked until i was 53 various jobs and self employed paid all taxes to incl SS. I aplied whsn i got sick really bad was told if ever terminal to let them know! I said that won t happen!! Well 4-14-16 at age of 54 told o had plumonary fibrous from V.A lung specialist!! Was in total shock!! When back to SS office told them! Asign a case worker Mrs Arroyo out of Purto Rico@@ i went got all med record from Togus in Maine sent to her been over 45 days now also to be told i need to see their doctors! Mine you it s goverment doctor I m seeing now so she put douht in my mine her goverment going against mine REALLY. Been out of work since 10-2016. Still waiting broke in Maine. Like i said all talk!! I should write President on in error in S.S System

  4. Judy

    We need a actual cost of living increase. I worked for 40 years and paid into Social Security so I feel it is an earned income. Medicare could be improved. The cost of medicines and monthly charge is outrageous.

  5. Enos

    SS COLA is tied to inflation. Inflation has been very low but positive. No increase in SS but the cost of everything to survive has increased tremendously.
    Renewing the insurance on the 2010 mobile home my 93 year old mom lives in by her self quote was 60% higher than last 3 years without any claims. Changing companies quote is 23% higher. Her income is fixed at approximately 15K annually. The COLA needs fixing

  6. sherm

    Note your own end comment: ”Paid for at U.S. taxpayer expense”

    • Sampa

      Why do this sherm? Make sense forever!

  7. sherm

    This is a government ”Of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE,
    for the PEOPLE.” We are not your customers. We OWN and PAY for the government.

  8. Norma C.

    Can someone with authority help???

  9. Norma C.

    Good communication – not in my case. I applied for part B as I retired – I was told to wait til a month before my employee benefits stopped — Anand re- apply then. I applied as directed . I was told they could not find my records.. And was told to re apply – I asked – am I going to be penalized if all this runs late !! I was told not to worry there would be no problem. So I reapplied… I also went to the United Health new enrollment seminar and tried to get my Medicare advantage done with the state.. They said you don’t have part B … I called Social Security again and wrote a letter informing them of all the trials I was going through!!
    I also sent in another Part B application along with all required forms needed – for the 3 Rd time– I again asked if I was going to have an LEP PENALTY – again I was told no – because they had made a mistake putting in my case SS number– I received my Part B in March – 2 identical cards !!!! Then a letter that I was to pay an LEP MONTHLY CHARGE — I am still trying to have this reversed — because I did not cause the problem… SO this is another injustice –mistake on the wrong person!!! My pay is limited – I was a stay home mom- divorced and started working late- so 14 years wasn’t much , I learned… I need this mistake reversed and the LEP cancelled…
    I don’t earn a big paycheck .. I have copies of each time I applied!!

  10. Elcho

    This govt. is only busy in helping blacks.
    After working the whole life paying all your obligations, now come the moment when they dump you.
    Socialism at its best.
    This is the famous change & hope that we were going to have……….

    • Retta

      Look up your statistics. More whites receive social security benefits.

    • Geraldine L.

      Our government is paying for all the illegal immigrants that flow in and out
      of our country. They get free everything which includes mostly anything to do with healthcare. If they
      had green cards it would be more acceptable. The rate we are going all the rest of the states will become bankrupt like California where the ratio is 60% illegal immigrants living there. We can’t afford amnesty for millions of illegals like Obama wants to pass. They even want to be able to
      collect Social Security even as an illegal. AND!!!! they should not be allowed to vote as an illegal. Our country is going to hell in a hand basket, we have no backbone to clear
      out this mess that has allowed to go on for so long. God help us if it doesn’t change.

    • Patricia R.

      Blacks are only 12% of the population. I went into the system at 22 and retired at 64.11 years. When my paperwork came in this January it had no medical benefits to be deducted. I am overseas guest I have to go to the embassy. No medical coverage if u are living over seas

      • Patricia R.


    • Sampa

      Look echo, this is not about race, keep it off of here.

      • JC

        The name is Elcho. You need to learn to read!

Comments are closed.