Social Security’s plain language makes the grade

By Hillary Hatch, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Social Security achieved the highest score of any federal government agency on the Center for Plain Language’s 2022 Federal Plain Language Report Card.

Our policies and programs can sometimes be complex and difficult to explain. That’s why we always strive to use plain language that is clear, easy to understand, and useful.

The Center evaluated 21 Executive Branch agencies, including all 15 cabinet-level departments, and graded each between an A+ and F- for writing quality and organizational compliance.

Social Security received an A+ for organizational compliance and an A for writing quality. This is an improvement over last year’s high scores of A+ and B.

“An excellent model to follow is the Social Security Administration’s ‘Contact Us’ page, the only one to earn an A+,” the Center said in its key findings. 

“The web page is clear in its intended purpose to provide information readers seek,” the Center said. “The page has clear and concise language and the reader is addressed directly,” it noted. 

The Center also cited “excellent use of links, colors, fonts, sizing, bolding, bullets, and imagery to highlight important information.”

In addition, the Center recognized our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request page as an excellent model for other agencies. The 2022 Plain Language Report Card was released on January 10, 2023, at To learn more about Social Security’s plain language efforts, please visit our Plain Writing page at

Hillary Hatch is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at