How is Social Security handling the COVID-19 outbreak?

by Casaundra Johnson | May 31, 2020 | Eligibility

Like nearly every other government agency across the country, the Social Security Administration has made several changes to its daily operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Social Security offices have been closed to the public since March 17, 2020, many Social Security employees are working remotely, and some workloads have been suspended until further notice. While Social Security is still processing disability applications and holding hearings, most claimants are being impacted by office closures and changes to daily operations in some way.

What workloads have been suspended?

As of May 11, 2020, the following workloads have been suspended until further notice:

  • Medical continuing disability reviews;
  • Non-disability hearings;
  • Organization or individual representative payee accountings;
  • Third part requests for information except those submitted by an appointed representative or representative payee;
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests; and
  • Processing and collection of overpayments, where possible.

Updates regarding changes to workload suspensions are available at https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/.

Will I still have my hearing if offices are still closed?

Most likely. All hearing offices have been closed to the public through at least August 2020. In the meantime, Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) are only able to conduct disability hearings by telephone. Someone from the hearing office will contact you or your representative before your scheduled hearing to confirm your availability for a phone hearing and confirm your contact information.

It is important to keep in mind that telephone hearings are not mandatory. If you do not want to move forward with your hearing by telephone, you can ask to have your hearing postponed until hearing offices reopen and regular in-person and video teleconference hearings resume. Keep in mind, however, that while Social Security is planning to reopen hearing offices in September 2020, office closures could be extended longer than expected as the pandemic progresses.

How can I get help from Social Security during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Social Security offices have remained closed to the public since March 17, 2020 and in-person services are suspended until further notice. While Social Security is not accepting walk-in visitors at any of its local offices, help is still available online and by phone.

Online services are available HERE. Social Security is encouraging the public to use an online self-service option before calling. For those who cannot use online services, is available by phone through local offices and Social Security’s National 800 Number.

You can find the phone number for your local Social Security office by using the Field Office Locator available HERE. You can also call 1-800-772-1213, Social Security’s national toll-free number, to utilize automated phone services without having to wait for a telephone agent. If you need to speak with an agent, be prepared to wait longer than usual due to understaffing and higher than normal call volumes.

What can I do online?

You can do most business with Social Security online from any device, including mobile phones. Social Security’s online services include the following:

  • Applying for disability, retirement, Medicare benefits, and Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drugs;
  • Checking the status of your application;
  • Filing an appeal;
  • Requesting a replacement Social Security or Medicare card;
  • Accessing and printing proof of entitlement to benefits;
  • Changing your addressing; and
  • Setting up and changing your direct deposit information.

Visit Social Security Online Services List  for a complete list of available online services.

Where can I find Social Security’s most recent COVID-19 pandemic updates?

Updates about what Social Security is doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and more information about resources and Economic Impact Payments are available at Covid-19 Updates.

If you need any help with your Social Security Claim, please call the Social Security Attorneys at The Bainbridge Firm.

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