Do you receive Social Security benefits or do you anticipate receiving them soon? If so, it’s important to make sure the Social Security Administration (SSA) has the correct information to reach you. Sharing the correct current address is one part of that process.
The Social Security Administration needs accurate information for the benefits it sends. It’s important to find the appropriate way to notify Social Security about your own address change. It can be even more challenging to reroute Social Security benefits for a sick or incapacitated loved one. Your loved one may experience a sudden change of address without notifying Social Security.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Notify the SSA of an Address Change for Yourself
- How to Notify the SSA of an Address Change for a Sick or Incapacitated Loved One
These instructions about contacting Social Security are a good place to start for other circumstances as well. For instance, if you are working to handle someone’s Social Security after death and have questions about how Social Security works, the account steps mentioned below are also useful.
Here are the appropriate measures to take to change your address with Social Security. The article also discusses changing an address for a loved one who receives Social Security who cannot do it for himself or herself.
How to Notify the SSA of an Address Change for Yourself
Making your own Social Security address change is easier than you might think. You’ll want to start with the Social Security Administration’s website for this purpose.
Register for a “My Social Security” account online
First, register for a My Social Security account online. This isn’t the same process as applying for benefits. This account offers you access to the SSA’s portal. Within this portal, there is a suite of online services. Using this account can allow you to bypass calling or mailing your information to the Social Security Administration information, which can take much longer.
Registering is simple. Gather your information, including your Social Security number, and sign up online. A confirmation email or phone message should show that you have completed the process.
Once you have this account set up, you’ll find that many requests are easier to make. Online information is much easier to find with the account. You can print documents, see past statements, and review updates or changes to your benefits.
You can also access resources that are available online, such as parts of the information stored in the Social Security death index.
Go to “My Profile” and select “Update Profile Information”
Is your main goal to change your address? If so, that’s easy to do in your account. Once you are logged in to My Social Security, you’ll see a button marked “My Profile.” Underneath that, you can click on “Update Profile Information.”
This will give you access to your personal details as the SSA currently has them written. You’ll type your new address into the website. Make sure that you double-check how you type the address since it will reroute your communication with the SSA.
Schedule the update and submit
You may be planning ahead for a future move, rather than one that has already taken place. Therefore, the next step in the process is to schedule this update to take effect on a particular day. You may be able to schedule it promptly if you’ve already moved.
However, your next check may already be on its way to your old address. Mail forwarding should handle that particular problem. Consider contacting USPS to forward mail to your new location.
Once you’ve scheduled the update, simply verify your changes. After you have made sure that you didn’t make any typos, submit your address change.
There are some forms of benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which doesn’t offer this particular address change opportunity. Need to change an address for SSI? Start by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office.
How to Notify the SSA of an Address Change for a Sick or Incapacitated Loved One
You may be a health care proxy for a relative who is sick or in danger of being incapacitated. You also may simply be a close relative who knows your family member could get sick suddenly.
There are a few things you can do to help your family member work with the Social Security Administration. They interact with family members frequently and will understand why you are part of the process.
The first steps are for preparing early before an illness or incapacitation. If this is possible, you’ll have better decision-making control in case of an emergency. The latter steps are good courses of action if an illness or injury comes on suddenly without time to plan.
Step 1: Assisting a loved one with the online account
The Social Security Administration encourages beneficiaries to receive help applying for benefits. It’s not highly challenging to apply for benefits but it can be intricate, so asking for help is a good thing.
If you have a loved one who receives benefits but who may be changing addresses soon, you can work with him or her to get a My Social Security account. The process will be the same as mentioned above.
All forms should ideally be signed by the actual account holder. You could help your loved one operate the computer, check for typos, or identify the correct place to click.
Assisting your loved one to get an account online might not be possible. If, however, you anticipate a possible hospital stay in the coming year or two, starting a My Social Security account may be a worthwhile activity for you and your loved one.
Step 2: Consider applying to be your loved one’s authorized representative
Some circumstances require a proxy for decision-making. One such occasion would be a long-term illness that makes it hard for your loved one to make his or her own updates and changes to benefits.
Because of this, there is a process to become an authorized representative for a Social Security beneficiary. This role is often completed by an attorney. This can be a route to have legal decision-making control over making changes to Social Security benefits.
It can help you if you want to be able to change the address on the account in the future.
Step 3: Make the address change on the “My Social Security” account
Authorized representatives have access to loved ones’ “My Social Security” account through the steps we listed above. You can make the address change for your loved one if you know their future address. The account will still ask the same questions as it would if it were your own account and will follow the same process outlined above.
Unless you are the authorized representative of your loved one, however, it’s frowned upon to sign in to an account that belongs to someone else. Let’s say your family member has lucid times during his or her current recovery.
You might consider making the change to his or her account when he or she is awake, aware, and with you.
Step 4: Call 1-800-772-1213 to make an address change without an account
Start by calling the Social Security Administration and explain your situation if you’re not an authorized representative. You will need to share information about your relationship with your relative.
You also might share information about the illness or situation that necessitates the address change. The SSA will verify your situation and let you know if whether it needs further documentation to reroute the benefits your loved one is receiving to a new address.
Step 5: Forward mail when possible
This step may be more comprehensive than simply making a Social Security address change, but it is effective. Submitting a request for mail forwarding can help ensure that any Social Security checks make it to the new location where they can be received and used. You can choose a mail forwarding option that works for you at the USPS website.
This may be more helpful than just changing your family member's address with the SSA. It will allow you to hold or process mail that arrives while your relative is in treatment or transition. It doesn't substitute for contacting the SSA long-term, however.
Step 6: Send only one set of forms to avoid confusion
One key tip as you work toward an address change without using the My Social Security account is to only request the change using one avenue: online, via phone, or via mail.
If you try to submit multiple requests, it can tie up their system and delay payments.
Step 7: Step up-to-date on your additional documents
This is a good reminder to stay up-to-date on all of your documents. When you update your loved one's address with the SSA, remember to also check with their service providers, banks, insurance, and so on.
Making sure this is the most recent, accurate information is an important way to stay prepared for anything. If something happens to them, you'll need the most recent address to access things like the death benefit or survivor benefit.
These payments can go towards paying final expenses and making necessary arrangements. This could go towards a virtual or hybrid funeral service with GatheringUs or an in-person celebration of life. It's essential to have all of the documentation you need to handle your loved one's affairs with ease.
Making an Address Change with Social Security
Ensure that your retirement, survivors’, or disability benefits arrive in the correct place. Luckily, the process of rerouting them doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little planning and a useful My Social Security online account, it can be a fast and clear process.
Helping someone else make these changes is also possible. The process is easier if you have information about your loved one’s condition and why the change needs to be made. The Social Security Administration will work with you to get these benefits into the right hands.
It’s a great idea to start end-of-life planning with useful tools and a clear strategy. Consider using Cake as a resource for your journey.
If you're looking for more help while moving, use our free change of address checklist.
- “Change of Address.” Social Security. Social Security Administration. ssa.gov/myaccount/change-of-address.html
- “Helping Someone Else Apply Online.” Benefits Planner. Social Security Administration. ssa.gov/planners/thirdparty.html.
- “Forward Mail.” United States Postal Service. USPS. usps.com/manage/forward.htm