Keeping Organized

It is important to keep all of your work and benefits information organized. You will need to keep all of your pay stubs from work as proof of how much you have been paid.

You will also want to keep all letters from government agencies such as Social Security or your county social or human services agency.

Help Staying Organized:
  • If you have a job coach or an employment support services person, they may be able to help you keep organized. If you need help, that person can make copies of your pay stubs and send them to the appropriate agencies for you.
  • For more information, you can check with the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) or the community organization that is helping you with employment.
  • You can also talk to a Benefits Planner if you have questions.

Benefits and Work Binder

One way to keep your information organized and in one place is to create a “Benefits and Work Binder.”

This can be created using a simple 3-ring binder that you can buy at the store. You can use a 3-hole punch to make holes in letters from government agencies, or keep them in plastic sheet protectors that have holes. You can also buy some pages that have pockets to put in the binder.

What to Keep in Your Binder

You should keep your pay stubs, receipts, and other small papers in these pockets in the binder. One way to keep your information organized and in one place is to create a “Benefits and Work Binder”. For example, you can keep receipts of your out-of-pocket health care expenses if you need to give them to Social Security.

You should always keep all letters and fact sheets that government agencies send you. You can also keep copies of the letters that you send to them in your Benefits and Work Binder. At a later time, you may need to show Social Security or another agency your pay stubs, or a letter you sent them reporting your income.

You can buy a three-hole spiral notebook to go in your binder. Use this notebook to keep records and write notes about anything you do that is related to your benefits (such as mailing in a copy of your pay stubs).

When you call, visit, or contact a government agency, be sure to write down the date of your contact, who you spoke to, and what they said. You should always keep all letters and fact sheets that government agencies send you.

For example, you could write down “1/1/2010: I sent copies of my pay stubs to Social Security by mail”, or “On 1/12/2010, I met with Mr. Smith at Social Security and we talked about my SSI. He said XYZ. I gave him copies of my pay stubs for December 2009.”

The Benefits and Work Binder will help you keep organized over time. You will have all your important letters and papers in one place if you need to look up something. You can bring your binder with you when you have appointments to talk about your benefits.

Other Organizational Tools

If you use a computer or laptop on a regular basis, there are scanners you can buy that can help you organize important papers electronically and keep them all in one place.

Scanners can cost from about $50 on up. To find a scanner that meets your needs and that you can afford, talk with your local electronics or office supply store. Some office supply stores have scanners on site that you can use for a small fee.

Keeping Track of Your Benefits

Benefits Planning Query (BPQY)

Social Security can give you a two-page overview of your benefits in order to help you plan for work. This is called a Benefits Planning Query (BPQY). A BPQY provides information about your disability cash benefits, health insurance, scheduled continuing disability reviews, and work history.

You can request a BPQY at a local Social Security office or by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. If the representative is not familiar with the BPQY, you may need to talk to a supervisor to request your BPQY.

People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call a toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

Social Security has a manual that explains more about the BPQY.