An award letter (also known as an award notice) is what the Social Security Administration sends out to inform an individual that a claim for benefits has been approved. Though award letters go out for any type of benefit application, the term is most commonly associated with disability claims.
If you need to replace your original award letter, you can request a copy by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213 or visiting your local office.
[Editor’s note: Local Social Security offices are currently closed to walk-in visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Social Security services are available online and by phone. If you have a "dire need situation" regarding your benefits or need to update information attached to your Social Security number, such as your name or citizenship status, you may be able to schedule an in-person appointment. See Social Security's coronavirus page or call your local office for more information.]
If a copy is not available, Social Security can provide you with an official letter with the information you need.
Keep in mind
An award letter is not the same thing as a benefit verification letter (also called a proof of award letter, among other things), which is a statement from Social Security that spells out the benefits you are receiving and can be used as evidence of income — for instance, if you are applying for a loan. Unlike an award letter, a benefit verification letter can be obtained instantly online if you have a My Social Security account.
Updated October 26, 2020
Find the answers to the most common Social Security questions such as when to claim, how to maximize your retirement benefits and more.