Across the country, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has more than 1,200 field offices, all of which are currently closed due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. In a statement, Social Security said:
“All local Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This decision protects the population we serve—older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions—and our employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, we are still able to provide critical services.”
However, payments—whether by mail or direct deposit—to more than 69 million Social Security retirement and disability beneficiaries will continue uninterrupted. Most SSA employees are working from home. Routine services—requesting a replacement Social Security card, assisting with benefit claims, checking the status of applications or appeals—are only being handled through the agency’s toll-free line and online.
Field offices will only offer in-person assistance on a very short list of crucial services. These include reinstatement of benefits in dire circumstances; assistance to people with severe disabilities, blindness or terminal illnesses; and people in dire need of eligibility decisions for Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid eligibility related to work status. Those seeking these services must call in advance. The Illinois Disability Determination Services, which reviews cases at the initial and reconsideration levels, is working, albeit on a reduced schedule.
Offices that hold hearings in disability cases, known as the Office of Hearings Operations, also are closed to the public. For those who have a scheduled disability appeal hearing, Social Security says it “will contact you prior to your scheduled hearing to offer you a hearing by phone.” If you are a current client who has a hearing scheduled, and you receive a call regarding your hearing, please notify us immediately.